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Grayson Belanger/AU Athletics
Grayson Belanger/AU Athletics

Tigers take rivalry match over the Tide

 Auburn Volleyball completed its successful rivalry weekend sweep Sunday afternoon, taking down the Alabama Crimson Tide in four sets. The Tigers and the Tide split the first two sets before Auburn was able to close out the match, winning sets three and four by scores of 25-23 and 25-22.

Auburn came into the match riding high off a five set win at Georgia earlier in the week, and prepared to face Alabama, a team who had not won an SEC match this season. Even with the Tide’s recent struggles and Auburn’s recent success, any SEC win is crucial for head coach Brent Crouch and the Tigers.

“The way they play is certainly not indicative of what their record is in SEC play,” said Crouch, referring to Alabama. “It’s the Iron Bowl, right? Anything can happen in these games.”

Crouch’s message perfectly echoed the Tigers performance, as they totaled 58 team kills on a .248 hitting percentage on their way to the victory. Sophomore pin hitter Madison Scheer continued her dominant week, racking up 21 kills on 49 swings.

Another key Tiger was the transfer middle blocker Bella Bell. The senior returned to the lineup and proved crucial to the Tigers attacking success, collecting 12 kills, the former Wildcats highest mark since the road trip to Florida State on September 2nd.

In a scrappy and hectic back and forth game, the constant for the Tigers was Senior setter Jackie Barrett. Barrett delivered a huge double double performance, with 44 assists and 11 digs. When sets three and four inched closer to the 25th point with the teams deadlocked in a dogfight, Barrett’s tremendous distribution of the set allowed for swings that put the game away.

“We made some big plays at the end of the third and fourth sets. In both cases, it could have gone either way,” said Crouch. “To see us step up on the road at the end of a long trip, I’m really proud of them.”

Not to be overshadowed by the potent Auburn attack, the Tiger defense put in another stellar performance. With 61 digs and nine blocks, including five from graduate middle blocker Kyla Swanson, the entirety of the Auburn squad showed why they are still a dark horse in the SEC standings.

With the victory, Crouch is now 5-0 against Alabama, and the Tigers are undefeated in their last six meetings with the Crimson Tide. The Tigers will be on the road once again in their next match, as they travel to Texas A&M on Sunday. First serve is set for 3 p.m. CT and can be seen on the SEC Network.

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