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A spirit that is not afraid

Tigers eliminated from postseason, earn first second-round wins

<p>Auburn volleyball celebrates during their match against Houston in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.&nbsp;</p>

Auburn volleyball celebrates during their match against Houston in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. 

Auburn volleyball has been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, but the exit does not come without a number of smaller victories. 

In their second game of NCAA play, the Tigers met up with No. 5 Houston and ultimately lost 3-2, but those victorious sets were the first time Auburn had ever won in the second round of the postseason. 

The young Tigers finish their season at 22-9, 10-8 in their conference matches and victorious in five of their 10 tournament sets. 

In 2010, the Tigers were swept by Nebraska in the second round, the program’s only other NCAA Tournament appearance. 

Auburn hit .172 throughout the match compared to the Cougars’ .217, with Jackie Barrett’s .333 leading the team. Madison Scheer followed with .279 and a team-high 17 kills, the highest single-match number of kills by an Auburn player in the NCAA Tournament. 

Kendal Kemp hit .294 and added seven kills of her own. Between Kemp and Scheer was Akasha Anderson, who hit .123 through five sets and tallied 13 kills. 

The Tigers and Cougars traded blows after Auburn got out to a one-set lead, but two four-point runs and a heightened intensity in the fifth set were enough to secure the win for Houston. 

The Tigers fought back in set one to tie it at 24-24, after its last tie was 5-5 at the beginning of the match. The Cougars forced three set points, but the Auburn offense did not flinch and was able to pull ahead for a 27-25 victory. 

An 8-0 Houston run early in the second set was the difference in its result. Going up 19-7, the Cougars scored 15 of the last 18 points before the Tigers were able to slow the bleeding, but the effort made no difference. 

Auburn answered late in set two with an explosive 5-0 run to force a time out from Houston, but the effort was not enough to bring them back and the Cougars won 25-15. 

In that second set, the Tigers had a .045 hitting percentage and just six kills compared to .333 and 15 kills from the Cougars. 

A moment where they certainly could have panicked, the young Tigers did not flinch in set three. They held Houston to just 12 points and ended on a five-point scoring run to secure a 2-1 lead going into the fourth. A 7-0 scoring run gave them a confidence-building advantage that held off the Cougars.

In set four, Crouch called a timeout with Houston leading 20-16 but the Cougars opened afterwards with a service error that Auburn followed with two kills. Its opponent did not let up. 

Houston called its first timeout with a 24-23 lead, but they had concocted a game plan and a kill by Kennedy Warren gave Auburn no opportunity to pull even. 

In the final set, Houston was simply able to keep a foot on the gas where the Tigers were not. Hitting .280 with 11 kills to Auburn’s .045 and four kills, the Cougars had what it took. 

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With their performance in both the regular season and the NCAA Tournament, Auburn has a lot to build on with its well-established freshman class. With eight newcomers and zero seniors, the foundation has been set for next season. 

Callie Stanford | Sports Editor

Callie Stanford, junior in communications, is the sports editor at the Auburn Plainsman. Currently a junior, she has been with The Plainsman since January 2021.

Twitter: @Stanford1Callie

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