Shipes sets single-season blocking record for Tigers

AUBURN, Ala. – Her debut season as a middle blocker will go down as a record-setting one as senior Tatum Shipes broke Auburn volleyball’s single-season record for total blocks Friday evening at Auburn Arena. The Tigers (12-9, 4-7 SEC) ultimately fell in straight sets (16-25, 23-25, 17-25) to LSU (10-12, 6-7 SEC).

Shipes closed the night with one solo stuff and two assists to bring her season total to 120 blocks, breaking the rally-scoring, single-season record of 119 blocks set by Camila Jersonsky in 2012. Shipes stands second in single-season history in both solo blocks (19) and block assists (101).

Offensively, Shipes attacked at a .365 hitting percentage with four kills off 11 swings. She also added one dig in the match.

The duo of Liz Reich and Rebekah Rath led the offense with eight kills apiece. Rath improved her season total to 343 kills to move into fifth place in Auburn single-season history. The junior added a pair of digs and three blocks, while Reich closed Friday’s contest with one block.

Junior Val Green closed the night with a .353 hitting percentage, landing seven kills on 17 attempts with just one error. Green added a pair of digs and a pair of blocks.

Calling the offense was sophomore setter Jackie Barrett. Barrett picked up her 13th double-double of the season with 13 digs and 22 assists. She also added two kills and a block.

Freshman Kate Curtis turned in her fourth double-digit dig effort of the season with 11, while senior Bella Rosenthall chipped in seven digs.

Rounding out the defense was senior Elif Yavuz as she totaled a team-leading four stuffs at the net.

LSU jumped out early with a five-point lead, 9-4, forcing Auburn to work from behind. Auburn rallied with a pair of kills and two blocks to cut the score to 11-9. Following the media timeout, Auburn recorded three consecutive kills capped with a block from Shipes and Green but couldn’t overtake LSU as it held on for a 25-16 victory.  
Both Tiger teams traded blows early, holding square at 7-7. Following four LSU attack errors, Auburn piece together a 5-2 to gain the lead.  LSU responded with a rally of its own, cutting Auburn’s lead to 15-14 at the media timeout. Off the heels of a kill from Green and a pair of Tiger blocks, including Shipes’ record-breaking stuff, Auburn took a 20-18 advantage. Late Auburn errors would ultimately swing the momentum in LSU’s favor as LSU edged out Auburn, 25-23.
Strong play at the service line combined with Auburn errors put LSU up 6-1. Kills from Shipes and Green would help pull Auburn within two. LSU landed three straight service aces to build an 11-5 lead and force a Tiger timeout. LSU padded its lead with a 7-2 run before a late Auburn rally. The Tigers used kills from Rath and Yavuz followed by a pair of blocks to close the gap, 18-13. LSU held on for the 25-17 victory.
In its final two-match road series of the regular season, Auburn treks to Bryan-College Station, Texas, to face the Aggies next Thursday and Friday. Both matches will air on SEC Network+ and are scheduled for 6 p.m. CT first serves.

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