Tonight’s home match against LSU could not come at a better time for the Auburn volleyball team.
After two lackluster performances last weekend on the road, where the Tigers have struggled all season, Auburn will look to rebound tonight at 7 p.m. in the Student Act Center, where they have yet to lose a match and have only dropped 3 total sets all season.
Auburn lost both matches in its road series last weekend, falling to Georgia, 3-0, and No. 11 Florida, 3-0. This weekend’s home series, starting with tonight’s match against LSU and continuing with a match Sunday at 1:30 p.m. against Missouri, could be an opportunity for the Tigers to reset and regroup.
“It’s always good to be home,” said Auburn volleyball head coach Rick Nold. “There’s no doubt about that. We obviously want to take advantage of being at home. At the same time, at our next opportunity, we need to improve at how we play on the road. We’ve got to get back and change some things.
“But, definitely, we’ve got two really good opponents coming in and it’s a good time for us to make some changes, and we’ve changed some things in practice and made some improvements, I think, so hopefully we’ll see that.”
For senior outside hitter Sarah Bullock, picking up a pair of wins this weekend starts with how the Tigers play each match out of the gate.
“We learned a lot,” Bullock said. “We have to be able to come out strong, and maintain our strength throughout the whole game. So far this year, we haven’t come out strong, and then we had to fight back. So we’d dig ourselves into holes and then we’d have to scrap back. And when you’re playing teams like Florida and a scrappy team like Georgia, you can’t do that. You have to learn to come out and, for once, us be on top, and us get the runs, and then finish out the game.”
The Tigers will have an opportunity to set the pace in tonight’s match. LSU stands with an 8-11 overall record, 4-6 in SEC play.
“We love playing at home, just because traveling, it takes a lot of you in general,” said freshman setter (and tortoise painter) Ciara Richards. “And being at home you have your home crowd and they’re always really great. It helps us really with momentum. From what I keep hearing on the team and how I feel, we’re real excited to be back home and get the swing of things going back again.”
Bullock says that tonight, and in Sunday’s match against Missouri, the Tigers will have an opportunity to make up for some disappointing losses earlier in the season.
“I have a lot of friends on LSU, so I’m excited,” Bullock said. “The team is excited. They’re a really good team, and if we can beat them that will take our loss to Georgia out — it’ll make up for it. And same with Missouri. They’ve beaten Tennessee. Missouri’s done really well. But they’ve also lost to some teams that they probably should have beaten, so if we can go 2-0 this weekend, it’ll make last weekend and the weekend before, or the Kentucky-Arkansas weekend, look better for us.”
Admission is free for both matches this weekend.
“Serve and pass,” Nold concluded. “We struggled in those two areas this past weekend. We’ve put a lot of time into it. We’ve got to make some improvements there, and if we do, then we’ve got a good chance.”
TWER photo by Abby King.
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