AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team put together a balanced effort to defeat Alabama, 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19), in front of 1,407 fans in Auburn Arena Sunday afternoon.
"We had a great crowd out here tonight," head coach Rick Nold said. "The team played with a resilient attitude and it was probably one of our best defensive performances all season. Everybody at different times stepped up and made plays. We moved the ball around well and were balanced offensively."
Sunday's attendance was the third-highest crowd in Auburn volleyball history.
A trio of Tigers (9-10, 3-3 SEC) had double-digit kills on the day. Freshman Enija Bidzane led the way with 14 kills, while classmate Gwyn Jones finished with 11. Senior Breanna Barksdale chipped 10 kills and junior Macy Reece added nine. Junior setter Alexa Filley picked up another double-double on the season, having 43 assists and 10 digs.
Defensively, junior libero Jesse Earl had a match-best 24 digs and classmate Kelly Stewart finished with 10. Barksdale had a hand in six of Auburn's 10 blocks, while Bidzane totaled four.
Krystal Rivers led Alabama (13-5, 2-3 SEC) with 21 kills and Abolanle Onipede had 10. Setter Shannon Mikesky finished with 41 assists and 12 digs, while libero Quincey Gary had 14 digs.
Tied at seven to start set one, a kill by Jones followed by a pair of Bidzane/Barksdale blocks triggered an Auburn run that pushed the Tigers to a 15-8 advantage. The Tide put together a five-point run to come within three at 18-15, but Auburn closed out the set with four-straight points to win 25-19.
A five-point Alabama run pushed the visitors to a 11-7 lead in the second stanza. Auburn battled back to go ahead at 14-13, but another 5-0 Tide rally put UA up 23-18. The Crimson Tide took the second, 25-21, and the teams went into intermission locked at one set apiece.
Auburn capitalized on early Alabama errors to push a 6-3 lead in the third and a solo block from Courtney Crable triggered a 4-1 Tiger run to make it 12-7. The teams exchanged sideouts throughout the rest of the set before kills from Jones and Filley made it 22-16. Barksdale sealed the set win with a kill, 25-19.
Kills by Barksdale and Reece made it 4-3 Auburn in the fourth and four-straight Alabama attack errors pushed AU to a 9-5 lead. The Tide attempted to chip away at the Tiger lead and came within three at 17-14, but a kill from Reece sent Auburn on a 5-0 run for a 22-14 lead. Back-to-back kills from Bidzane gave Auburn the match, 25-19.
Auburn continues its homestand, hosting Georgia and Mississippi State. The Tigers welcome Georgia for a Wednesday night match, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. CT. Auburn and MSU face off Sunday, Oct. 16, in a 1:30 p.m. CT match. Both contests will be televised on SEC Network.