FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Auburn volleyball team picked up its fifth Southeastern Conference win in a row, defeating Arkansas in four sets (25-21, 23-25, 25-20, 25-19) Sunday afternoon in Barnhill Arena.
The win pushed the Tigers to 13-10 overall with a 7-3 SEC record. The team's current winning streak is the longest in conference play for the Tigers since the program did that in 1998.
"The servers kept us in a decent situation to start the match," head coach Rick Nold said. "Once we got our energy going, we were able to make decent runs. Our serving was a key and put Arkansas out of system, giving our offense great opportunities."
"A big part of our success was also our passing and not giving up any aces to Arkansas," Nold added. "That gave Alexa (FIlley) every option."
Junior setter Alexa Filley picked up her 13th double-double of the year, having 42 assists and 19 digs. Freshman Gwyn Jones finished with a career-high 16 kills to lead Auburn, while junior Courtney Crable had a season-best 15 for the Tigers. Sophomore Brenna McIlroy added 10 and senior Breanna Barksdale had 12.
Defensively, junior libero Jesse Earl had 17 digs on the day and McIlroy chipped in 15 for her seventh double-double of the season. Barksdale led the team with four blocks, while junior Macy Reece and Filley had three apiece.
Arkansas (3-18, 1-8) was led by Danielle Harbin, totaling 16 kills. Breana Jones had 11 kills and setter Rachel Rippee had 44 assists. Libero Okiana Valle finished with 16 digs.
The teams battled to start the match until a kill from Filley and a pair from Jones pushed Auburn to an 11-7 advantage. Tough serving from Earl gave the Tiger offense great looks as the Auburn hitters had three-straight kills to make it 20-16. Crable sealed the set with a pair of kills, 25-21.
A handful of Razorback runs lifted the home squad to an early 11-8 lead in the second stanza. Arkansas pushed to a 17-13 and took set point at 24-21. A pair of kills from Crable held off the Razorbacks, but the Arkansas went on to win the set, 25-23.
A Filley/Barksdale block made it 5-3 in set three and kill from McIlroy later in the set pushed Auburn on a run to go up 14-11. The Razorbacks battled to tie the set at 15, but a handful of Razorback hitting errors led to a 20-17 Auburn lead. A Jones kill gave Auburn the set, 25-20.
The Tigers held a slim advantage to kick off the fourth before the Razorbacks responded to go ahead at 15-14. A pair of kills from Reece and a pair of aces by Filley highlighted an Auburn run that pushed the visitors to a 19-15 lead. Stewart picked up her third ace of the night to give the Tigers a 21-16 advantage and Auburn took the match with a 25-19 win.
After a very busy start to the SEC schedule, the Tigers will get a week off of competition before traveling to Tennessee for a Sunday afternoon match, Oct. 30. Auburn and the Lady Vols will square off at 12:30 p.m. CT in Knoxville.