AUBURN, ALA. – Behind Annie Bierman's 15 kills and Nicole Mack's first career double-double, Furman volleyball downed Auburn, 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16) on Saturday in the War Eagle Invitational. The win moves Furman to 1-1 on the year, while the loss drops Auburn to 0-2.
Bierman led Furman with 15 kills, while Mack turned in 12 kills and 14 digs for her first career double-double. Taina Joseph added 10 kills for the second match in a row, while Ashton Stocker put down six kills with 34 assists and five digs. Furman out-hit Auburn .268 to .167 and put down 53 kills to Auburn's 48. Furman capitalized on Auburn's 11 service errors, while turning in three aces.
Furman used a 5-1 run early in the first set to take a 10-7 lead, before upping the lead to four at 12-8. The Paladins then used a 4-0 run to take a 16-9 lead, before Auburn cut the lead back to five at 18-13. Furman upped its lead to 21-15 after a block by Cynthia Ley and Anna parsons, forcing Auburn to take its first timeout of the set. The teams then traded points until Furman grabbed its first set point opportunity at 24-19. Auburn used back-to-back points to cut the lead to 24-21, but the Paladins got a kill from Taina Joseph to take set one, 25-21.
The teams traded points to open set two, before the Paladins capitalized on Auburn errors to take an 8-5 lead. The Tigers battled back to tie the set at nine, then again at 10, then Auburn used a 3-0 run to take a 13-10 lead. Out of a timeout, Furman used a 7-2 run to regain the lead at 17-15, forcing Auburn to take its first timeout. The Paladins then used kills from three different players, along with a Tiger error, to take a 21-16 lead, prompting Auburn's final timeout of the set. The teams traded points the remainder of the set, with a kill by Ley giving the Paladins the 25-19 set two win and 2-0 match lead.
The teams again traded points early in the third set, before a 4-0 run by Auburn gave the Tigers an 11-8 lead and forced Furman's first timeout. Out of the timeout, the Tigers kept the pressure on, using a 5-1 run to push the lead to 16-9, prompting Furman's final timeout of the set. The Paladins finally capitalized on an Auburn error to end the 10-1 Tiger run at 17-10. Furman then used a run of its own, this time of 5-2, to cut the lead to 19-15 and force Auburn to take a timeout. Furman was able to cut the lead to three at 23-20, but Auburn hung on to take set three, 25-20, forcing a fourth set.
For the fourth set of the day, the teams started back-and-forth. With the score tied at 14, Furman used back-to-back points to force Auburn's first timeout of the set. Out of the timeout, Hunter Thompson served Furman on a 5-0 run to push the Paladins' lead to 22-15. Auburn cut the lead to six at 22-16, but the Paladins used three-straight kills to grab the 25-16 win and take the match, 3-1.
Furman is back in action later today, taking on Georgia Tech at 6 pm (ET) in the Paladins' final match of the War Eagle Invitational.