Auburn Outlasts Eagles in Five-Set Thriller
STATESBORO, GA – Auburn captured the 2009 Bash in the ‘Boro presented by Verizon Wireless title defeating the Georgia Southern Eagles in a five-set battle that came down to the last point Saturday night (September 12) in Hanner Fieldhouse. Tied at 10-all in the last set, the teams traded the lead before tying at 13-all. A kill by Auburn’s Morgan Johns forced a home timeout at match-point for the Tigers who the secured the win with a Johns and Alyssa Davis block.
With the five-set win (25-21, 24-26, 26-28, 25-19, 15-13), Auburn improved to 8-3 on the season, while Georgia Southern fell to 6-4. Making the All-Tournament team were Tigers Sarah Bullock, Liz Crouch and Katherine Culwell, who was also named the Tournament MVP. Sophomore Bethany Sanford (Avondale, Ariz.) and junior Sarah Gildersleeve (Naples, Fla.) joined the Tigers on the team, as well as Kadija Fornah of Wake Forest and Coastal Carolina’s Chelsy Kimes.
In the final match of the tournament, Auburn jumped out with the early advantage, gaining a 10-5 lead. The Tigers led by as many as eight at 17-9 before the Eagles slowly closed the gap to four at 23-19. But the comeback attempt fell short as Auburn set-up set-point at 24-19 off a kill by Culwell. Two kills from Lauren Claybaugh (Danville, Calif.) pushed the score to 24-21, but a Davis kill ended the set at 25-21.
Eleven tied scores and seven lead changes encompassed the second set that sparked the Eagles who took the set, 26-24. Each team posted 15 kills on 36 attempts, 14 digs and two service aces, but Auburn’s six block assists to Georgia Southern’s two could not help the Tigers. Gildersleeve paced the Eagles in the second set with five kills, followed by Hannah Nelson (Norcross, Ga.) with four. At a tied score of 19-all, a bad set from Bullock would give the Eagles the lead. Kills from Gildersleeve and Sanford pushed GSU’s lead to three at 22-19, before two Tiger kills and an Eagle error would tie the set at 22-all. The teams tossed the lead back-and-forth to a 24-all game when a Tiger error followed by a Nelson kill gave the Eagles the set at 26-24 to even the match at 1-all.
Four service errors and nine attack errors hindered Auburn in the third set as Georgia Southern capitalized on its opponent’s mistakes to take the set, 28-26 and go ahead 2-1 in the match. After a 4-3 lead in the beginning of the set, Georgia Southern would not hold the lead again until a Claybaugh kill at 25-all put the Eagles on top. Auburn responded with a strike from Kelly Fidero to tie the set at 26-all before a pair of kills from Nelson and Kate Van Dyke (Shawnee, Kan.) gave the Eagles the set.
Auburn evened the playing field grabbing the fourth set, hitting .262 from the floor with 14 kills, five from Culwell. The Tigers and Eagles tied the score seven times in the set with the last being 15-all before Auburn took the final lead. Seven kills from the Tigers on three errors from the Eagles gave Auburn the set at 25-19.
In the deciding set, Georgia Southern opened with a 3-0 run, but Auburn responded with an identical run to tie the set at 3-all. A 4-2 Eagle run made the score 8-4 in Georgia Southern’s favor, but the lead was short-lived as the Tigers tied the set at 9-all. The lead would alternate by a point to 13-all when a Johns kill gave Auburn match-point, forcing an Eagle timeout. Auburn ended the match on the next point with a block assist from Davis and Johns.
Sanford led the Eagles with 18 kills, followed by Nelson who contributed 14 and Gildersleeve who added 12. Van Dyke recorded 49 assists in the match and a team-high 16 digs. Sanford added 15 digs as Gildersleeve tallied four block assists. Culwell recorded 14 kills and 17 digs for the Tigers who hit .228 for the match. Christina Solverson led with 27 assists.
“Similar to all our matches this weekend, it was another hard-fought match for us. We just came out on the wrong end of it tonight. We definitely have some things we can do to get better and we will continue to work on those things,” said head coach Chad Callihan. “But I really loved the effort the kids are playing with and I think that is something to definitely be proud of and build off of in the future.”
In earlier action, Coastal Carolina topped Wake Forest in a four-set win. The Chanticleers improved to 3-6 on the season with the 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, 25-16 win. Chelsy Kimes led Coastal Carolina with 12 kills as the Chanticleers hit .198 for the match.
Georgia Southern returns to the court and will look to rebound from this tough loss on Wednesday, September 16 with a road game at Charleston Southern. First serve is slated for 7 p.m.
For a tournament wrap-up, please click here to visit the tournament page.
- Category: Volleyball
- Published on Saturday, 12 September 2009 23:49