AUBURN, Ala.—For the first time ever, Auburn Volleyball is 14-0 and 3-0 to start SEC play. Brent Crouch and the Tigers have already matched their win total from one year ago after a thrilling five-set victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs(8-4).
This was the Tigers’ first home match since September 6, and the SEC home opener in front of a raucous Neville Arena.
”It's been a really hard month with you know, we've been on the road for a really long time. And we've been playing a lot of tournaments,” freshman pin hitter Akasha Anderson said. “And it's just been a lot of hard work. But it's really cool to see pay off, especially on our home court.”
Mississippi State trailed by as much as five points in the first set, but the Bulldogs mounted a comeback behind a ferocious offense and won the first set convincingly 25-16.
Brent Crouch and the Tigers went back to the drawing board and made the necessary adjustments, cruising to a 25-19 win in the second set, tying the match at 1-1.
The third set was by far the most competitive of the night as both teams traded the lead consistently through the final 20 points of the set, and the Bulldogs were able to make the crucial plays down the stretch, taking the third set 25-23 and taking the lead 2-1.
Auburn roared back in the critical fourth set behind Akasha Anderson and Kendal Kemp, winning the set in dominating fashion 25-16, sending the match to the penultimate fifth set.
Auburn showed no signs of slowing down in the 15-point fifth set, taking control early and never letting go, securing a comeback win in dramatic fashion.
After the third set ended in a Mississippi State victory, Auburn finished the match outsourcing the Bulldogs 40-23, securing a 3-0 start to SEC play.
Akasha Anderson led the way for the Tigers with a career-high 26 kills, four shy of the Tigers’ single match record. Anderson also added 10 digs and two blocks on the defensive end, part of a staunch defensive effort from the Tigers that ended with 15 blocks, more than double that of the Bulldogs.
“They[MSU] are so quick at the net. And that is something that we worked on the entire week when we knew we're going to be up against them like they are extremely fast and we just knew we had to get a block up on them,” Anderson said. “I think we did a really good job with that, that's how we shut them down.”
Madison Scheer added 13 kills of her own, but the rest of the offense was a team effort on offense and defense, forcing the Bulldogs into 34 attacking errors to Auburn’s 21.
Jackie Barrett had another double-double, with 47 assists, 12 digs and seven assisted blocks, the most on the team.
Auburn Volleyball will have a week off before they hit the road on October 5, traveling to Baton Rouge to take on the Bayou Bengals of LSU. The Tigers of the Plains will be back inside Neville Arena on October 8 for a weekend series against their archrivals the Georgia Bulldogs.