Ole Miss volleyball opened up SEC play with a 3-1 win over Auburn on Wednesday night, as the Rebels (12-0, 1-0 SEC) continue the 2021 campaign undefeated.
For the eighth match this season, Anna Bair reached double-digit kills with a total of 16, while Sasha Ratliff reached 10-plus for the third time this year with 12. Kylee McLaughlin assisted her hitters with a total of 51 and finished with 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the year. An anchor in the back row, Sam Burgio recorded her fifth consecutive match with double-digit digs with 18 for a season high. As a squad, the Rebels totaled eight blocks.
Auburn opened up the match on a 4-0 run before Bair fired off the Rebels first kill of the night followed by Payton Brgoch leading the squad on a 3-0 run to trail by one at 4-3. Ole Miss quickly allowed the Tigers to go off on a 5-0 run, extending the deficit to six at 9-3 before a Rebel timeout. The Rebels quickly found themselves in a hole, trailing by as many as 12. A 3-0 Rebel run cut the Tiger lead to 8 at 18-10, as Ole Miss continued to battle. The Rebels staved off five straight set points but ultimately dropped the opening set 25-20.
The Rebels continued into the second set with the same fire from the end of the first, jumping out to an early 5-1 lead. Ole Miss continued to build a steady lead off of strong play at the net to go up 12-7. After a 6-1 Tiger run tied up the set at 13-all, both teams continued to fight back-and-forth through 15, before Ole Miss was able to build a two-point lead at 17-15. A 3-0 Rebel run allowed the squad to grasp control of the set to lead 22-18 before claiming set two 25-19 to even it 1-1.
Momentum from the second set carried into the third for the Rebs as an early 3-0 run put them up 5-2. An 8-2 run put Ole Miss in control as Ratliff fired off three straight kills to lead 13-4. The Tigers clawed back, cutting the Rebel lead to four at 15-11, yet Ole Miss was able to maintain control due to Auburn errors, going up by six at 19-13. With set point drawing near, Auburn closed the gap within four at 23-19 but it was too late as Ole Miss picked up set three 25-19 to lead 2-1.
Heading to a fourth set for just the sixth time this season, the Rebels kept their composure to build a four-point lead, going up 10-6. Ole Miss was able to withstand a body blow from the Tigers as they closed the gap again at 21-17. However, multiple Rebel runs allowed them to control the pace, finishing out the set 25-18 and the match 3-1.
The Rebels are off this weekend before returning home next week, Sept. 29, to face their first top-10 opponent this season in defending national champions Kentucky. The match against the Wildcats will stream on SEC Network + at 6 p.m. CT from the Gillom Center.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports