Volleyball Hosts Auburn in SEC Home Opener

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Mary Catherine Aune currently ranks No. 15 nationally in service aces
Mary Catherine Aune currently ranks No. 15 nationally in service aces

Sept. 25, 2008

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The volleyball team (7-4, 0-2) is set to host Auburn (5-8, 0-2) for the Crimson Tide's first SEC match at The CAVE Friday, Sept. 26. Opening serve is slated for 7:00 p.m. (CST). Alabama looks to rebound this weekend after having opened conference play with an 0-2 record.

"The start to the conference season took us by surprise," said head coach Judy Green. "The good thing is our team is young and exuberant, and we can bounce back fast. There has been some great energy in practice this week."

Brooks Webster leads the Tide offense in kills per set averaging 3.60, while Lauren Martin provides the majority of the assists with 9.40 per set. Mary Catherine Aune continues to control the service ace column tallying .580 per set. Leading the Alabama defensive effort is Calli Johnson with .950 blocks per set and Amy Pauly with a 3.78 digging average. Both Aune and Webster rank among the nation's best with Aune at No. 15 in service aces per set and Webster at No.84 in kills per set. As a team, Alabama ranks in the top 100 of three statistical categories including No. 47 in service aces per set (1.68), No. 95 in blocks per set (2.18) and No. 91 in hitting percentage (.224)

Auburn enters Friday's matchup having dropped its first two SEC matches over the opening weekend of league play. The Tigers fell in five sets, after having won the first two, to Arkansas 22-25, 25-19, 25-17, 23-25, 8-15 and suffered a three-set defeat to Ole Miss 27-25, 25-23, 25-21. Jessica Glover had a banner weekend, despite the losses, with the team's first 20-kill match of the season against the Razorbacks. Setting up much of the offense for the Tigers is Sara Shanks, who averaged 9.83 assists per set. Liz Crouch leads the Auburn defense with 3.24 digs per set.

In the Tide's longest-standing series in history it owns a 38-26 match advantage over Auburn including wins in 15 of the last 16 outings. Alabama swept the Tigers last season by scores of 3-1 in both meetings.

"This rivalry is one of the main reason people come to Alabama," added Green. "There have been some great times in the rivalry for us, and there have been some not-so-great times. But that's what a rivalry does. Ultimately, we want to be the best team we can be Friday night."

All fans are encouraged to bring a canned good to Friday's match for the SEC's Together we "Can" Make a Difference event. This league-wide food drive raised more than 40,000 pounds of food last year that benefitted local food banks and shelters. Admission to the event will be reduced to $1.00 for all fans who present a can. For more ticket information, contact the Alabama Ticket Office at 1-877-TIDETIX or visit www.rolltide.com. For those not able to attend, the match will be broadcast live on the radio at WVUA-FM 90.7 in Tuscaloosa. In addition, live stats will be available on www.rolltide.com.