2009 Auburn Tigers Volleyball
The Auburn Lady Tigers are engaged in a fierce rivalry with one team in the SEC West, and unfortunately, it is not for the reasons that you may expect, and it is probably not for the reasons that the team and the university would want. The team is the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs, and the rivalry is based in the fact that the two teams are probably the 2 worst teams in the SEC. Both had extremely poor years in 2008. It remains to be seen if either of these 2 teams are able to make tangible improvements in 2009.
Where oh where to begin when looking back at the horror that was the 2008 season for the Lady Tigers. The team posted a 6-25 record overall. That was good for a winning percentage of .193. That percentage, however, dwarfs that of their record in the SEC. At 1-19, the team only managed a winning percentage of .050 in the SEC. And the team was equally bad over the course of the season on the road as well as at home. The team posted equally anemic records of 1-12 on the road as well as at home.
What to Look for in 2009
In what has to be considered the ultimate case of kicking someone when they are down, how about this for horrible fortune. The Lady Tigers lose far and away their most significant member of the 2008 team to graduation in Jessica Glover. Glover did it all in 2008. She led the team in kills per game, at 3.45 kill s per game. She led the team in blocks per game, at 0.52 blocks per game. And she was 2nd on the team in digs at 2.34 digs per game. While she is by no means the best player leaving a team from 2008, she may be the player will represent the whose departure biggest impact on its former team.
It is going to be up to the returning players to pick up the slack. On the attack, the Lady Tigers have a trio of returning attackers who are each going to have to step up their games to make up for the loss of nearly 3.5 kills per game from Glover. The three players who will be the most looked upon to step up to fill that gap are Kelly Fidero, at 1.96 kills per game, Jonelle Wallace, at 1.72 kills per game, and Olympia Haney, at 1.68 kills per game.
On defense, the team has a lot to work to do up front. The team was already quite poor in net defense, with its leading blocker, Glover, only managing 0.52 blocks per game. And now, they will have to fall back on a group of players , led by Alyssa Davis, who all amassed fewer than 0.41 blocks per game. For this team to become competitive, someone here needs to step up their game significantly.
Backline defense will also be impacted significantly by the departure of Glover, as Glover was #2 on the team with 2.34 digs per game. However, the 2008 leader in digs, Liz Crouch is returning with 3.70 digs per game, and there are 2 other key cogs returning in Sara Shanks at 1.71 digs per game, and Emily Knuth, at 1.65.
The Lady Tigers have a long hill to climb to even make it to the middle of the weaker of 2 divisions. It will be a season long battle for 5th in the SEC West between Mississippi State and Auburn. Who gets the spot is anyone's guess.
You can read more about last year's Auburn Tigers Volleyball at 2008 Auburn Tigers Volleyball.
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