AUBURN, Ala. – Continuing Southeastern Conference action this weekend with its first two-match series in hostile territory, Auburn volleyball (10-4, 2-2 SEC) treks to Fayetteville, Ark., to face the Razorbacks inside Barnhill Arena.
“I like these double-match formats,” said head coach Brent Crouch. “You’re able to prepare all week for just one opponent instead of two like we did in the past. You get to see if your scouting report is going to be functional that first night, and you can tweak it for the next match if you need it. Being on the road means you get to spend more time together over the course of two to three days, and that is just a gift.”
Saturday’s match at Arkansas is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT. First serve of Sunday’s finale is slated for 3 p.m. CT. Both matches will air on SEC Network+ with Brett Dolan and Caitlin Donahue on the call.
“Arkansas’s offense is on the fast end,” said Crouch. “When they set quick in the middle, it is even faster. They’ve got two solid outside hitters. Usually, teams with good outside hitters win a lot. Their record is not surprising. It’s the most important position on the court in terms of generating offense and winning matches. Arkansas is just a good team all around. We’re excited about the challenge they present.”
- Senior Bella Rosenthall enters the weekend series just 14 digs shy of recording 1,000 for her career. She would be just the 15th Tiger in program history to hit this mark.
- The SEC leader in total blocks and blocks per set, senior Tatum Shipes added her named to the record book with a single-match record of 12.0 blocks against Alabama on Oct. 2.
- With back-to-back conference wins under their belt, the Tigers are looking to win their third straight SEC contest. The last time Auburn has won three straight in league action was in 2017.
- Carrying the momentum of back-to-back SEC victories, Auburn looks to continue its winning ways with a two-match series at Arkansas. The Tigers are looking for their first win in Fayetteville since 2016.
- The “Block Party” was in rare form during Auburn’s two-match sweep of Alabama as the Tigers tied the program’s single-match record with 18.0 total team blocks against the Tide on Oct. 2. Senior Tatum Shipes led Auburn at the net shattering Auburn’s individual single-match record with 12.0 blocks in the match.
- Leading the squad with nine double-doubles this season, sophomore Jackie Barrett has blossomed as the Tigers’ starting setter. Her 447 total assists this season rank eighth overall in the SEC, while her 8.60 assists per set mark also ranks eighth in the conference.
Returning to Fayetteville after picking up a road sweep over Ole Miss in Oxford, Arkansas enters the weekend with a 12-4 record with a 3-2 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Arkansas has also picked up victories over LSU and Georgia this season. Its two losses in league action have both come from then-ranked No. 21 Tennessee.
As a team, Arkansas ranks second in the SEC in total team kills (798) as the squad averages 13.76 per set, the fifth highest mark in the SEC. The Razorbacks enter the weekend with a .235 team hitting percentage. Arkansas relies heavily on the arm of Jillian Gillen. The junior outside hitter leads the SEC in attacks per set (12.33), kills per set (4.41), points (283.0), total attacks (685) and total kills (247). Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Head ranks fifth in the SEC with a 3.74 kills per set average. Her kills total of 213 is the fourth highest in the SEC.
Arkansas ranks as the best serving team in the SEC, leading the conference in both aces per set (1.79) and total team service aces (104). Maggie Cartwright is the Razorbacks’ best server, ranking second in the SEC with a 0.48 service aces per set mark. She has totaled 26 service aces from the line this season.
Senior Gracie Ryan handles the setting duties for Arkansas. She ranks second in the SEC and ninth nationally with an 11.24 assists per set average. Ryan is also a strong defensive player for the Razorbacks with 30.0 total blocks and 171 total digs, the 13th most in the SEC.
Defensively, Arkansas ranks fifth in the league with a 15.05 digs per set mark. The Razorback defense is spread evenly as four players have totaled over 150 digs this season with Ryan leading the charge. Courtney Jackson ranks second on the team with 170 total digs.
At the net, Arkansas has racked up 114.0 team blocks. Ellease Crumpton is the Razorbacks’ most efficient blocker with 55.0 total blocks to her credit. Crumpton ranks 16th in the league with a 0.95 blocks per set mark.
The Tigers return to Auburn Arena next weekend with a pair of matches set against Missouri. The series begins Oct. 16, Saturday at 4:30 p.m. CT with Oct. 17, Sunday’s finale slated for 1 p.m. CT. Both matches will air on SEC Network+.