Auburn Volleyball Begins Brent Crouch Era on The Plains
SOURCE: AUBURN ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS
The Brent Crouch era of Auburn volleyball officially began as the program’s new head coach led the Tigers on the court to kick off the 2020 season against No. 4 Florida at Auburn Arena Wednesday evening.
Auburn (0-1, 0-1 SEC) battled hard in the final set of the match, but the Gators (1-0, 1-0 SEC) held on to take the series opener in straight sets, 14-25, 14-25, 20-25. The match was Auburn’s first in almost 11 months due to cancellations related to COVID-19.
“We settled down a little bit,” Crouch said. “When you first come out, you’re going to have a lot of nerves. We haven’t played in almost a year. I thought we gained confidence as the match went on. The believe factor was there as the match went on. We were right there in the third, and I thought we did a good job of not looking at the scoreboard very much.”
Junior Val Green led the Tigers offensively with a team-high eight kills. The outside hitter added an assist, seven digs and two blocks, including a huge solo stuff in the third set. Freshman Audrey Douglas added four kills and a block in her collegiate debut.
Auburn’s middle blockers turned in strong performances as seniors Chesney McClellan and Jaeden Brown combined for 10 kills. Brown added two blocks Wednesday night.
Junior Marissa Hines paced the offense with 17 assists and was just shy of a double-double performance with nine digs. Junior Tatum Shipes led the Tigers defensively with 11 digs while chipping in three kills.
Auburn’s offense struggled to find rhythm in the first two sets of the night but battled the reigning Co-Southeastern Conference champions to the wire in the final set.
Trailing by two early, Auburn used a 3-0 run highlighted with kills by Green and McClellan to battle back, 4-3. The set saw seven ties leading into the media timeout with Florida having a slight 14-15 advantage.
Auburn battled late with a kill from Marissa Hines to cut the lead to 15-17, but the Gators were able to use 3-0 run late to extend their lead for the win.
Auburn returns to the court Thursday with a rematch against the Gators. First serve on ESPNU is set for 7 p.m. CT.