Rebels capture first set but can’t close out Tigers
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss cruised in the first set against Auburn at the Gillom Sports Center, but couldn’t close out the visiting Tigers in the second set and lost 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 18-25, 20-25) Saturday afternoon.
“We played a very dangerous Auburn team and came out and executed the game plan for the first set and a half,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “Then, I think we kind of felt they would roll over and give it to us and they didn’t. In the SEC, everybody is fighting and clawing for the same thing you are. Hopefully we learned a valuable lesson that you have to play every set and every point all the way through until it’s over. We started off strong and had the right attitude, then when we built a big enough lead in the second set we kind of took a break and started giving them some confidence.”
Three Rebels finished with double-digit kill totals, led by sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte, who had a dozen kills. It was the third straight match in which Laporte has recorded 12 or more kills. Fellow sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair had 11 kills and five total blocks, including four block assists. Freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow had 10 kills on a strong .400 hitting percentage, and freshman setter Aubrey Edie had a team-high 39 assists, her highest output in a four-set match this season. Junior libero Cara Fisher had a team-high 11 digs.
Ole Miss (10-9, 0-6 Southeastern Conference) won the first set 25-14 behind a .429 team hitting percentage and a formidable defense that held Auburn (10-7, 1-4 SEC) to a .061 clip. The Rebels jumped out to a quick lead from the first serve, forcing Auburn to call its first timeout just eight points into the set as Ole Miss established a 7-1 advantage. Ole Miss continued its strong play out of the timeout break by going on a 7-4 run to take a 14-5 lead and prompt a second timeout by the Tigers. Clair, Crow and junior Marie-Pierre Bakima each had three kills in the set, while Fisher had six digs, freshman Kristen Brashear had five digs and Edie tallied four digs, eight assists and a kill.
Ole Miss raced out to another quick lead in the second set, forcing Auburn to use its first timeout down 7-2 and its second timeout down 14-9. The Rebels extended their lead to 19-12, but the Tigers regrouped and closed out the set on a 13-4 run to win 25-23 and even the match at one set apiece.
The Rebels fell behind by five points at 10-5 to open the set and couldn’t catch back up with the Tigers. Ole Miss cut its deficit to two points on two separate occasions, but could not get closer and fell 25-18.
The two teams had seven ties and three lead changes in the fourth set, but Ole Miss couldn’t take the lead late and lost the set 25-20. After each team went back and forth to open the set, Auburn went on a 4-1 run to take a 16-13 lead. Ole Miss cut its deficit to two at 17-19, but Auburn responded with a 6-3 run to close out the set. Senior outside hitter Kara Morgan had four kills and a set-high six digs in the fourth frame, while Edie passed out 14 assists and Laporte had four kills and a service ace.
Ole Miss will stay at home this week for two more SEC contests. The Rebels face Tennessee at 7 p.m. CT on Friday and then South Carolina at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 20.
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