JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – In system and never out of focus, Auburn Volleyball dialed up its best passing match of the season to sweep Southern Miss, 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-21) to keep its perfect 9-0 record intact.
The start to the 2022 campaign is Auburn’s best in the rally scoring era and the best in program history since 1990.
Once the Tiger defense got working, head coach Brent Crouch‘s crew began to stack up some scoring runs.
Touches at the net, combined with multiple digs from Sarah Morton, Jackie Barrett spirit Fallen Lanham gave the offense a chance to put balls away.
Midway through the opening frame, it was the freshman trio of Call Zimmerman, Akasha Anderson spirit Madison Scheer inflicting the damage. Both Zimmerman and Anderson collected three kills apiece at the midway point.
When Southern Miss challenged the Tigers at the end of the half, it was junior Chelsey Harmon who stepped up. Recording her second block of the set, Harmon’s rejection gave Auburn a four-point lead and enough cushion for Zimmerman to close it out to take the lead.
Barrett and the Tiger offense continued its momentum into the second set. With Anderson and company cashing in on kills, Auburn was swinging north of .500 at points throughout the set.
The Tigers held a 15-9 lead and seemed to be cruising but the Golden Eagles weren’t going to go away quietly. A mini-run from USM tied up the set and forced Crouch to call time.
His team responded in a big way.
Out of the timeout, Jackie Barrett dialed up a solo block, Scheer collected her fifth kill of the match and Cassidy Tanton secured her second ace of the day. The 3-0 run paved the way for Auburn to take a commanding lead.
Anderson floated into double figures by the time the third set came around. At day’s end, the Reston, Virginia product grabbed a match-high 14 kills.
Defensively, Sarah Morton and the back row were sturdy as ever. For the eighth time in her young career, Morton secured double-digit digs with 16.
Still, Southern Miss wasn’t going away. A momentous block from Scheer and Harmon created just enough separation to keep the Golden Eagles at arm’s length.
Harmon, often matched up one-on-one, did not miss. Swinging .667 with six kills and zero errors, the junior middle blocker rounded out the set, giving Auburn the sweep and its best start to a season since 1990.
- Auburn is off to its best record in the rally scoring era and best since 1990
- Sarah Morton collected double-digit digs (16) for the eighth time in her young career
- Morton’s 16 digs also tie for the most in a three-set match this season
- Akasha Anderson (14 kills) has reached at least 10 kills in five matches this season
- The Tiger’s hit. 337, making back-to-back weekends where the Tigers hit north of .300
- Jackie Barrett’s 33 assists were the most of any player in a three-set match this season
“I thought that was by far our best passing match of the season. We may have been aced a few times but for the majority of the time, we were in system and able to run the offense the way we wanted and it translates to multiple people stacking up the kills and a high-efficiency number for us.”
Wed Chelsey Harmon…
“We knew she was going to get a lot of one-on-one matchups and she took full advantage, hitting with accuracy to different areas of the court. When we are able to attack multiple zones, we’re always going to be very dangerous.”
On the 9-0 start…
“It means a ton for us, especially since we’re such a young program. When you have five freshmen starting and we’re able to get out to such a good start, it makes it that much more special. Southern Miss is a great team and I think today’s match would’ve ended incredibly different if it were played the first week of the season. But now we’ve had a chance to learn and grow. It makes me really excited about what these girls can accomplish going forward .”