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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn volleyball earns weekend sweep at Panther Invite to open season


After defeating Belmont and Georgia State in back-to-back games on Friday, Auburn persevered Saturday morning in a win over Marist by a score of 3-1 to complete an undefeated opening weekend.

“We didn’t get back to the hotel until nearly 10 p.m. last night and then to flip around and play a match early this morning is hard, especially because it was an emotional one last night,” said Auburn head coach Brent Crouch. “We came out a little flat, which was expected, but I was extremely proud of how we responded.”

Sophomore Fallan Lanham started off the game on the right foot with an ace to set the tone for the day. Behind Lanham, Auburn jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first set. 

The Tigers continued to settle in, with freshmen Chelsey Harmon and Akasha Anderson each contributing two kills midway through the set. Auburn continued its success serving with aces from Jordan Sinness and Kendal Kemp to win the first set.

Marist bounced back in the second, though. The Red Foxes squared the match at one set a piece, hitting .407 as a team. 

Bouncing back, Auburn dominated the third with stellar performances from a trio of freshman: Anderson, Cassidy Tanton and Bel Zimmerman. The Tigers combined to hit an impressive .667 without an error to dominate the set, 25-9.

Tanton had a breakout performance, finishing the game with a career-high 10 kills on .348 hitting.

“I have seen her do this in practice time and time again, so I wasn’t particularly surprised,” Crouch said. “She had a few nerves early but powered through and had a great match.”

The Tigers started off the fourth hot with three aces. The Auburn offense continued to light up the scoreboard in the fourth, winning the set and finishing off a perfect weekend in Atlanta. 

Auburn finished the game with a .356 hit rate compared to Marist's hit rate of .101. The Tigers also finished with 43 kills with Anderson leading the way with a career-high 12.

On the defensive end, Auburn finished with a season-high 14 blocks, with Kemp matching her career-high with nine.

Auburn's next match will be at home against Alabama State on August 31st. That game is schedules to begin at 7 p.m. CST.

Donavan Weaver | Sports Writer

Donavan Weaver is a senior at Auburn, majoring in journalism. He is from Brewton, Ala. and started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.

Twitter: @donavanweaver21

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