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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Offense powers No. 24 Auburn to fifth straight win

8 days ago
Auburn Athletics
Photo: Auburn Athletics

MOBILE, Ala. - Non-conference complete.

No. 24 Auburn Volleyball leaned on its productive offense to get by Samford, 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 26-24, 25-11) to enter SEC play at 10-1.

Jackie Barrett and Co. got things rolling in a hurry on Saturday. Midway through the opening set, the Tigers were hitting well north of .500.

Missouri natives Madison Scheer and Bel Zimmerman combined for eight kills in the opening frame. A tough serving effort aided the cause as well with Paige Thibault, Akasha Anderson and Chelsey Harmon all recording an ace.

By the end of the set, Auburn hit an even .500 and took the quick 1-0 lead.

The Tiger offense was still clicking throughout parts of the second set. Harmon's aggressive serving effort tied up the set at 12 but tough serves from the Samford side never let Auburn get ahold of the Bulldogs.

While the Orange and Blue hit over .300, Samford managed .400 and tied the match at one set apiece.

Once again the Auburn attackers were doing well to put balls away in the third. Zimmerman, Anderson and Scheer each eclipsed double-digits in kills as the match wore on.

Anderson would finish with a team-high 19 kills while Zimmerman was close behind with 15. Zimmerman would also stack up 11 digs for her third-career double-double. Fellow Show Me Stater Madison Scheer also reached double digits with 13 kills.

Tough serving from Harmon and Thibault kept the Tigers within reach of Samford but it was the Bulldogs who led 22-18 and someone, or something, on the Orange and Blue side needed to change.

After just one block in the first two sets, the Auburn front row came alive. Behind stout serving from Thibault, the Tigers found timely blocks and momentum-building kills. Six points in a row later, Auburn found themselves at set point.

Even though Samford forced it into extras, one final blow from Zimmerman gave her team the two-set lead.

With all the momentum from set No. 3, everything began to coalesce for the Tigers. Barrett distributed kills right, left and center as Anderson and Zimmerman each stacked up five kills in the fourth set alone. Scheer finished close behind with four.

While they didn't record an official ace, the Tiger servers flexed their muscles again, forcing Samford out of system.

When the dust settled, Auburn hit .386 for the match, blew past the Bulldogs, 25-11, in the fourth and took home its tenth win of the season.


  • Auburn hit over .300 for the seventh time this season
  • The team's .386 average was the second-highest this season
  • Akasha Anderson (19 kills) eclipsed the double-digit kill mark for the eighth time this season
  • Madison Scheer (13 kills) reached double-digits for the seventh time this season
  • Zoe Slaughter (16 digs) reached double-digits for the fourth time this season and the third match in a row
  • Bel Zimmerman (15 kills, 11 digs) recorded her third-career double-double
  • Jackie Barrett (46 assists) reached 40-plus assists for the fourth time this season

"I thought we came out with better focus than we did yesterday. We had a good serve and pass, a good warmup and we started the match sharp. Throughout the whole match, I thought we were engaged and doing the right things. They got us in trouble a little bit with their serves but other than that, our offense was clicking the whole match and hitting for a high percentage. We made a couple of changes at the end of set four, blocking-wise. We started to trap the outside and they were both doing really well before that. It was nice to roll that into the last set.

"We're much clearer about where we are than we started this season. We are a much better serving team than at the beginning of the season. That has really progressed. We're just continuing to get comfortable playing with each other. We're really grateful we've got such a deep roster to absorb all these injuries. We haven't seen what we're truly capable of yet because we just haven't had everyone on the court except for a couple of matches early on. I think we're ready to make a good run in the SEC."

The Tigers return to the Plains on Sept. 22 for the start of SEC play when they'll face the Florida Gators at 6:30 p.m. CT. Admission is free and the doors will open one hour before the match.