Tide sweeps Auburn again

TUSCALOOSA - The University of Alabama volleyball team grabbed state bragging rights for the season with an impressive 3-0 victory over in-state rival Auburn on Monday night. With the win, Alabama earned the season sweep of its arch-rivals for the second consecutive year.

The Tide (16-5, 7-3 SEC) extended Auburn's current losing streak to 12 matches, handing them a 30-25, 30-22, 30-21 straight game loss. Auburn now falls to 1-17 overall and 0-10 in SEC play. Prior to last season's sweep of the Tigers, Alabama had lost 10 consecutive to Auburn but now the Tide has won four straight in the series.

"I'm really proud of our team's effort over the last four days," said UA head coach Judy Green. "We scheduled this stretch of three matches in order to challenge our team both physically and mentally heading into the final month of play. I thought we responded with a total team effort in all three matches. This team is beginning to believe in itself. We just need to keep working to get better."

Members of the 2001 Bama Volleyball team pictured on their pre-season retreat.

Alabama got rolling to start game one holding a lead from the first serve. The Tide used a solid offense (.303 hitting percentage) as they extended their margin to 21-12. Auburn struggled from the service line committing seven service errors in the frame as the Tide continued to control the tempo. The Tigers made a late push cutting the UA lead to just four points but Bama held on to take the 1-0 match lead.

Game two was almost a carbon copy of the opening stanza with the Tide earning a slight margin behind solid offensive play and tough serving. Erin Price sparked a 6-0 run from the service line scoring two aces and keeping the Tigers out of system. Jennifer Bibber also keyed a late run by the Tide with seven kills in the frame to give UA a 2-0 lead in the match.

In the third game its was the Crimson Tide defense that did the damage against the Tigers. Alabama forced Auburn into a dismal -.063 hitting performance with a strong display at the net. UA tallied 8 blocks in the game including five blocks by Emily Sebastian, who saw her only action in the third game. Alabama fought off a charge by AU midway through the deciding game before settling down and handing the visitors a straight game loss for the second time in four days.

For the match, Bibber paced the Crimson Tide offense with 16 kills followed by Erin Heffner with 15. Heffner and Price both recorded eight digs to lead UA's back row defense and Price was joined by Sebastian as the team's blocking leader with five each. Shelly Adamcik served up four aces for the Tide to help them to a 9-3 advantage.

Alabama will enjoy a few days off from competition before returning to action in an important SEC contest at #21 South Carolina on Sunday afternoon in Columbia, S.C.

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