Tigers conclude home slate with Kentucky series finale

AUBURN, Ala. – Ending the home portion of the regular-season schedule, Auburn volleyball (13-14, 5-12 SEC) fell in straight sets (21-25, 8-25, 12-25) to No. 8 Kentucky (22-4, 15-1 SEC) Sunday at Auburn Arena.

Junior Rebekah Rath turned in her sixth consecutive match with double-digit kills as she totaled 12 against the Wildcats. Rath turned in a .226 hitting percentage in Sunday’s finale. She has now recorded at least 10 kills in 23 of Auburn’s 27 matches this season. She chipped in a pair of digs and one assist in the match.

Graduate student Liz Reich added six kills for the Tiger offense with one dig to her credit. Senior Val Green contributed with five kills, one assist and a pair of digs. The Tigers’ most efficient hitter of the match was senior Elif Yavuz, who landed two kills on five swings for a .400 hitting percentage. Yavuz was also credited with a dig.

At the net, senior Tatum Shipes recorded Auburn’s lone block of the match with her 21st solo stuff of the season. On the offensive side of the net, Shipes added a pair of kills.

Sophomore Jackie Barrett dished out 21 assists as the Tigers’ starting setter. She also added four digs and a kill.

Defensively, senior Bella Rosenthall led the team with 10 digs. She is now tied with Sarah Wroblicky (2013) for most digs in a single season in the rally-scoring era with 481.

The opening stanza was tightly contested as the two squads traded four ties. Auburn relied on Rath to spark its offense as the junior totaled six kills in the opening frame. Kentucky held a 15-11 advantage at the media timeout, but Auburn pulled within one with a pair of Tiger kills and costly Kentucky service errors. Down the stretch, Kentucky held on to a two-point lead before the Wildcats were able to silence Auburn’s offense to a lone kill from Green, taking the set 25-21.
Behind a .565 team hitting percentage, Kentucky topped Auburn 25-8 in the second stanza. The Wildcats ending the set on a 16-1 run. Auburn’s eight points in the set all came via kills with Rath leading the charge with three.
The final set also saw Kentucky build a large lead with help of a 10-0 run midway through the set. Auburn’s offense was limited to six kills in the final set. Rath totaled half of Auburn’s offensive output with Reich, Green and Yavuz reach combining for a kill. Kentucky spread its offense with 16 kills in the final set to clinch, 25-12.
Auburn completes its regular-season schedule on Friday, Nov. 26 with a single match at Mississippi State. First serve on SEC Network+ is set for 4 p.m. CT.

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