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Tigers win five set classic in first round of NCAA tournament.

For the first time since 2010, Auburn Tiger Volleyball (21-8 SEC:10-8) won a match in the NCAA tournament. Not only was the win against the No. 14 Creighton BlueJays (27-4 Big East: 17-1), but in a five-set classic that has not only caused the Tigers to advance to the second round, but also helped the Tiger squad with two juniors, two sophomores, and eight Freshmen as a force to be reckoned with not only in this tournament but for seasons to come.

The underdog Tigers came out and did what many beside the Auburn faithful thought they would do, and lost set one 25-21, due to an inability to get any momentum started with a team hitting percentage of .105. 

Auburn came back with a vengeance securing a hit percentage of .400 in the second set leading to another thrilling conclusion when Akasha Anderson had a kill that evened the game back up at one set apiece as Auburn won set two 25-21. 

Akasha Anderson would have a great night for the Tigers with 15 kills 13 digs, and four blocks. The Virginia native is a two-time SEC freshman of the week and a All-SEC selection continues to help the Tigers win even on the biggest stage.

Madison Scheer was a player who came off the bench and was dominant for the Tigers, leading in kills with 17 limiting herself to four errors and ending the night with a .302 hitting percentage.

The only real detractor from the Tigers night was 13 service errors a problem which has plagued them since the Fall, five of which being committed in the third set. Luckily for the Tigers they were able to ride a .256 hitting percentage and three blocks to a 25-20 victory.

A poor hitting percentage would strike again when the fourth set ended with the Tigers having a percentage of .062 and setting up on the edge of your set action in the fifth set as the BlueJays won set four 25-16.

After the only set of the night that was not decided by five points or less, the Tigers needed some type of kickstart to get back on the right track, and after back-and-forth fight to five points that kickstart came.

The Tigers got a 6-1 run to put the Tigers up 10-6 thanks to Jackie Barret who assisted on five of the six points helping her get to 44 on the night and getting her 1,000th assist in the process on the season the Junior now sits at 10,14 currently.

Auburn kept up the grind eventually at match point after a Sydney Handel service ace her second of the night and Auburn’s ninth total. The Tigers would give the service back to the BlueJays who would need five in a row to win it.

Auburn finished their rebuilding process when BlueJay’s freshman Sky McCune hit a service Error ending the game with a Tiger victory in the fifth set 15-11.

“If I talk to you long I’ll start tearing up a little bit this group is so special” said Auburn head coach Brent Crouch about how it felt to win the second NCAA championship game in program history, “(people) can just see the joy that our team plays with and that’s the stage I’m just so proud of.”

Auburn will pick up their third NCAA tournament win in what is round two of the Tournament on December third versus Houston at 6:30 p.m. If Auburn wins, they will be just four games from destiny. 

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