ATHENS, Ga. - The Auburn volleyball team capped a successful conference-opening weekend with a sweep of Georgia, 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-16), Sunday afternoon in the Ramsey Center. The Tigers improved to 9-2 overall and 2-0 in SEC play.
"This was one of our best, well-rounded outings all year and the most disciplined we've been with sticking to our game plan," head coach Rick Nold said. "We came out and did a great job defensively against some really good hitters. Our passers gave Alexa (Filley) the ability to run the offense successfully and kept Georgia guessing, while our hitters made smart plays to get Georgia out of system consistently."
It was a balanced effort on all fronts for the Tigers as four finished with seven or more kills. Junior Brenna McIlroy led the team with nine, while sophomore Shaina White finished with eight. Sophomore Gwyn Jones and freshman Anna Stevenson each chipped in seven.
Senior Alexa Filley finished with 26 assists and eight digs to go with five kills. Classmate Jesse Earl had a match-high 18 digs, while McIlroy and freshman Payton White finished with six.
Defensively at the net, the Tigers had eight total blocks on the day. Jones, S. White, and Macy Reece had their hands on three, while McIlroy, Filley, and Stevenson totaled two.
Georgia (11-4, 1-1 SEC) was led by T'ara Ceasar with seven kills, while setter Meghan Donovan finished with 27 assists and 12 digs. Ceasar also chipped in 12 digs, while Majesti Bass had two solo blocks.
A pair of kills from Jones highlighted a quick 3-1 start for the Tigers to open the first. The Bulldogs came back to tie things up and the teams exchanged sideouts until a kill from McIlroy and two-straight Tiger blocks forced a UGA timeout, 17-14. The Bulldogs capitalized on Auburn miscues late in the set to tie it up again, 19-19, and then earned set point at 24-23. Auburn responded with a slam from Stevenson and back-to-back McIlroy kills to pull off the comeback, 26-24.
The Tigers held momentum going into the second stanza and jumped ahead 7-1. A kill from Reece followed by a handful of Bulldog errors pushed Auburn ahead at 10-3, but UGA used a timeout to regroup and cut the AU lead at 11-9. The Tigers responded with a run of their own and took another large lead, holding to the end of the set. A kill from S. White made it set point and Filley closed it out with a sneaky swing, 25-22.
Auburn continued with the energy in the final set and a pair of kills from Stevenson with one from McIlroy pushed the Tigers ahead at 5-1. Kills from Filley and Jones highlighted another run for Auburn, while another slam from the middle from Stevenson made it 18-13. The Tigers closed out the day on a 7-2 run to win, 25-16.
The Tigers finally return to The Plains after two weeks on the road, hosting Missouri and Arkansas in Auburn Arena. The two Tiger squads will face off at 7 p.m. CT, Sept. 29, and the Razorbacks come to town for a 1:30 p.m. CT match, Oct. 1. Both contests will be broadcast on SEC Network+.