AUBURN, Ala. - It just wasn't Auburn's night on Thursday against Middle Tennessee.
Bel Zimmerman had a season-high 11 kills while Sarah Morton, Fallan Lanham and Jackie Barrett all had 10 digs but it wasn't enough as the Blue Raiders came away with the victory, 3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-22).
Set No. 1 went back and forth as both sides tried to feel the game out. Zimmerman and Kyla Swanson each collected three kills while senior setter Jackie Barrett directed an offense that hit .273.
Two momentum-changing blocks from Swanson and Bella Bell changed the tide late, allowing Auburn the cushion it needed to secure the one-set lead.
Middle Tennessee scratched out to an early advantage in the second set, though. Bell and Kendal Kemp secured a block and Barrett ran down a team-high four digs in the frame. However, the Blue Raiders were able to keep the Tigers at arm's length, finishing off the set and tying the match at two apiece.
The Tigers had their chances in the third. Five blocks, including four from Kemp alone, had the Orange and Blue leading by as many as four.
Bell added five kills and Zimmerman swung for four of her own. However, Middle Tennessee just wouldn't go away.
MTSU dialed up four total team blocks of their own and an ace, erased the deficit and took the third set, 25-23.
Set four looked eerily similar to the first one of the night. The Blue Raiders and Tigers traded blows as the frame wore on. Madison Scheer put down a team-high four kills while Swanson and Zimmerman each grabbed three.
With MTSU creeping closer towards a victory Auburn did not go down without a fight. Barrett dialed up her second ace of the season but it was too little, too late as Middle Tennessee closed out the contest, 3-1.
- Bel Zimmerman's 11 kills were a season-high for the sophomore
- Jackie Barrett collected her third double-double of the season (39 assists, 10 digs)
- Kendal Kemp's five blocks tied season-high
- Bella Bell's four blocks were a season-high
- Sarah Morton had 10-plus digs for the third time this season
- Fallan Lanham had 10-plus digs for the second time this season
It's a quick turnaround for the Tigers as they'll match up against Charleston Southern on Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. CT. Doors open one hour before the first serve and admission is free.