After falling to a talented Kentucky Wildcats team last Sunday in Auburn, the Auburn volleyball team traveled to Baton Rouge to face LSU.
In the battle of the Tigers, LSU’s defensive efficiency was too much to handle, as Auburn’s squad struggled to put up points. LSU won the match 3-1 (25-15, 25-16, 20-25, 25-20).
In the first set, LSU came out aggressive, pushing the Auburn Tigers into a corner early. LSU established an early 6-2 lead and never let go of it.
LSU never settled for trading points throughout the sets, going on two, three, and even five straight point runs. LSU reached 20 points, having only given 12 to Auburn, and finished strong for a 25-15 victory.
The second set was a similar story as LSU jumped to a 7-1 lead to start. Then LSU scored seven unanswered points, extending the lead to 14-1. Auburn managed to slow LSU down by going on a six-point run for themselves, making the score 15-7.
However, the massive advantage that LSU had was more than enough to leave a comfortable threshold for the home Tigers as they gradually reached the end of the match, with the score in their favor at 20-12. LSU, with strong composure, ended the set in another dominating fashion 25-16.
The LSU Tigers prevented Auburn from having a tie or a lead for the entirety of the first two sets.
Hoping to turn things around, Auburn entered the third set with heads high. This set started much closer than the previous two, as both teams traded points. The teams were in a deadlock for the first ten points, set being tied 5-5.
Capitalizing on a few mistakes by LSU, Auburn managed to obtain a slight lead 8-6, with a pair kills from sophomore Gwyn Jones. The advantage quickly disappeared as LSU tied things up once again at 9-9. In a set defining situation, the momentum shifted towards Auburn once again as LSU continued to commit attacking errors.
With kills from junior Brenna McIlroy and senior Macy Reece, along with an ace from sophomore Karis Beasley, the Tigers lengthened their lead to seven at 16-9.
The Tigers reached 20 points for the first time of the night, leading the LSU Tigers 20-14. Good defensive blocks from Jones and Reece kept Auburn alive as they took the set 25-20.
In the fourth set, LSU returned to their aggressive game, defensively shutting down Auburn. LSU started with a 5-1 lead and once again, never lost momentum. Auburn was never able to recover, as LSU reached 20 points quickly. With the score at 20-14, the LSU Tigers swiftly closed out the match with a 25-20 victory.
“Credit LSU for being aggressive tonight,” Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. “We came out flat to start and that allowed them to take and hold on to momentum.”
LSU had a total of 18 blocks as a team with sophomore Jacqui Armer totaling 9 for herself. Freshman Raigen Cianciulli had 29 digs, her career high, for the night.
Offensively LSU freshman Taylor Bannister had a match-high 15 kills and junior Toni Rodriguez had 11.
For Auburn, sophomores Shaina White and Gwyn Jones led the team with ten and nine kills respectively. Senior Alexa Filley had her 17th double-double performance for the season with 33 assists and 11 digs. Senior Jesse Earl had a match-high 33 digs.
Earl now has over 1000 digs in SEC matches for her career.
Auburn volleyball returns home to play Mississippi State in its last home game of the season Sunday, Nov. 19. Seniors Alexa Filley, Jesse Earl, Macy Reece and Courtney Crable will be recognized in Auburn Arena for the team’s senior day prior to the contest.