AUBURN, Ala. – Snapping a 12-match losing skid to Missouri, Auburn volleyball (11-6, 3-4 SEC) swept the Tigers (3-16, 0-6 SEC) in straight sets (25-23, 25-14, 25-15) Saturday at Auburn Arena to pick up the program’s first win in the series since 1996.
“We passed better today,” said head coach Brent Crouch. “We worked on it a lot this week. We received a lot of balls in practice against some tough servers. We got the radar guns out with the servers, hitting higher miles per hour. We had five days of just receiving. If we pass well, we can distribute the ball. When we do that, we’re really, really tough.”
Rebekah Rath recorded her fifth straight match with double-digit kills as the junior closed the night was a match-leading 17. Rath committed just four errors in her 47 attempts for a .277 hitting percentage. She littered the stat sheet as she also picked up one assist, eight digs and a team-leading four blocks in the match.
Graduate student Liz Reich made some individual history against the Mizzou Tigers, closing the match with nine kills, bring her career total between her stops at Portland and Auburn to 1,000. Reich also chipped in three digs and a block.
Auburn also spread the offense to its two middle blockers seniors Tatum Shipes and Elif Yavuz. Shipes racked up four kills in the match while Yavuz closed the night with three.
Sophomore setter Jackie Barrett dished out 25 assists, leading Auburn to a .232 hitting percentage. Barrett saw action all over the court, adding three blocks, one ace, two kills and nine digs against Missouri.
Bella Rosenthall recorded her 16th double-digit dig match of her senior season as she totaled a match-leading 19 digs. Rosenthall brings her career total to 1,055 to stand 10th in program history. Rosenthall closed the night with five assists and an ace.
Missouri tamed Auburn’s blocking effort, holding Auburn to just six in the match with Rath leading the team at the net with four. Shipes closed the night with three block assists bringing her season total to 84, which moves Shipes into a tie for fifth in single-season history.
Shipes’s block total for the season stands at 100, the fourth most in Auburn single-season history in the rally scoring era.
The two squads traded blows early with neither team gaining more than a one-point advantage. Tied at 5-all, Auburn broke the set open with an 8-2 run, highlighted a pair of kills from Reich to force a Missouri timeout. Responding with a 10-4 run out of the timeout, Missouri tied the set, 17-17, before a Rath kill and a Barrett ace forced a second Mizzou timeout. Both Tiger teams went toe-to-toe late as Missouri was able to fight off three Auburn set points before a Shipes and Barrett block sealed the victory for Auburn, 25-13.
Missouri jumped out to an early lead, 2-3, with help from a kill and block from Kayla Burbage. Shipes and Rath were able to reverse momentum with a block of their own to tie the set, sparking a 5-0 Auburn run. The duo each collected a kill and another block each in the scoring run. Coming out of another Missouri timeout, the offenses were evenly matched with Auburn holding on to a 15-11 advantage. Two Missouri errors ignited the Auburn offense as the Tigers were propelled to 8-3 scoring run with four kills from Rath and an ace from freshman Kate Curtis. Rath closed the set with another kill, her 10th of the match, for the 25-14 Auburn win.
Jumping out to an early lead in the final set, Auburn once again preyed on Missouri errors. A block from Anna Dixon and Burbage was all Missouri could muster as Auburn’s offense exploded seven total kills, four from Rath and three from Reich, to extend the Tiger lead to 13-6 and cause a Missouri timeout. Missouri pushed late for a short offensive run with a pair of kills and an ace to cut Auburn’s lead to four, 18-14, and force Auburn’s only timeout on the night. Nothing could stop Auburn out of the timeout as the Tigers spread the scoring evenly. Rath put the match within striking distance with her match-leading 17th kill of the night, 24-15, before a Missouri attack error handed Auburn the sweep.
The Tigers return to Auburn Arena on Sunday for game two of the Missouri series. First serve on SEC Network+ is set for 1 p.m. CT.