AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) – Thanks to a fight in the fifth set, Auburn (6-0) remains undefeated with a victory (25-21, 26-24, 23-25, 20-25, 15-12) against Santa Clara on Sunday in the Auburn Arena. The Auburn Tigers won the first two sets, but Santa Clara (2-5) came back, winning the next two sets.
The win was Auburn’s first in five sets since they went up against South Florida on Sept. 7, 2019.
“This was the toughest team with played this season,” said head coach Brent Crouch. “They proved it against South Carolina and Clemson earlier this week. To beat a team of that caliber is really going to push us in the right direction. It’s going to generate more belief in what we’re doing. They exposed some areas where we need to get better, but what I was most proud of was that even when they exposed those things, we didn’t let it derail us emotionally. We kept coming back and did the right things in the fifth set to win. It was a great win.”
Junior Rebekah Rath led the Lady Tigers with 24 kills and ending the match with a .339 hitting percentage. Since Oct. 26, 2018, Rath is the first Tiger to have at least 20 kills in a match. Rath had 10 digs, three blocks, one assists, and one ace for 27 total points.
Graduate senior Liz Reich had 17 kills against the Broncos which is a season high. Senior Val Green had 12 which is her season best. Sophomore Jackie Barrett had her second double-double of the season and had 44 assists, 11 digs, two aces and five stuffs at the net. Freshman Jordan Sinness came off the bench as a server recording a season high two aces.
Defensively, Bella Rosenthall had 20+ digs and totaled 20 points against the Broncos. Freshman Fallan Lanham had a season high of 14 digs and had her first collegiate kill.
The first set got off to a fast start with Santa Clara pulling away on a 4-0 lead. Rath kept the Lady Tigers close behind with back-to-back kills, bringing Auburn back within one. A few Auburn mistakes gave the Broncos a three-point lead, 16-19, but a combined four consecutive kills from Reich and Green put the Tigers in the lead 21-20. A Bronco error gave the Tigers a 25-21 victory to end the first set.
Just like in set one, set two had a lot of back and forth plays ion the early serves. The match was tied at 16-all, until Auburn had back-back blocks from Shipes and Barrett earning them the lead. The Broncos fought back and tied three times with Auburn until Rath put the set away with a kill and an ace.
Santa Clara had a strong start and built upon thier initial eight-point lead. The Tigers battled it out in the late stages, but the Broncos pulled away with a 25-23 win.
The Broncos once again came out strong from the beginning and held a six-point lead, 16-10. The Tigers fought back and had a pair of kills from Barrett and Green, making the score 17-15. The Broncos fought till the end, coming out on top after the fourth, 25-20.
Auburn had a 3-0 lead thanks to Yavuz blocks and a kill from Rath. Santa Clara stayed strong and came back to tie the set, 3-3. Santa Clara had a 3-0 run to tie 12-all but Rath's three straight kills won the match for the Lady Tigers.
Auburn continues its non-conference play on its homestand. The Tigers will welcome Florida A&M, Nicholls State and Belmont for a tournament in the Auburn Arena on Friday and Saturday. At 12:30 p.m. CT. on Friday the Tigers play Florida A&M.