The Ole Miss volleyball team will play two games this weekend: on Friday against Georgia and on Sunday against Auburn.
Having lost four of their last five matches, the Rebels are looking to bounce back from their loss to Florida last Friday when they play Georgia in their SEC home opener.
“Georgia and Auburn are very talented, and both were expected to be in the top five in the SEC this season,” head coach Steven McRoberts said. “We have had a good week of preparation, so I am anticipating two competitive matches this weekend. It’s been nice to have the team fully healthy all week for practice.”
The Bulldogs are 10-3 this season and 1-1 in SEC play, going to five sets in both their win against LSU and their loss to Texas A&M. In their only game against an AVCA top-25 team this season, Georgia defeated then No. 24 Colorado 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19). They also came away with a signature 3-0 win against Texas Tech early in the season.
Ole Miss split its regular season series with Georgia last year, with each team coming away with a victory on its home court. However, the Rebels then defeated Georgia 3-0 (25-21, 25-11, 25-19) in the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. This will be the only matchup between the two teams this year, and the Rebels hope to capitalize on the opportunity to take down a highly regarded SEC team at home.
Auburn is 7-6 so far this season and is 0-3 in conference play, after losing at home to Tennessee, at Alabama and at Mississippi State. The Tigers struggled mightily early in the season, before winning four consecutive games to finish their nonconference schedule.
These extreme hot and cold stretches plagued the Tigers last year as well, as they had both a six-match winning streak and a five-match losing streak. The Tigers are looking for more consistency this year, but with difficult games against Ole Miss, Georgia, Alabama and Missouri coming up, they may find themselves in another cold streak.
Last year the Rebels came up short in their only matchup with Auburn, falling 1-3 at home (21-25, 25-19, 17-25, 26-28). They hope to set the tone of the series this year with a victory at home before visiting the Tigers on Oct. 26 at Auburn.
After losing four of their past five, the Rebels must cut down on errors and improve their hitting percentage if they want to get back on track. And with six of their next eight matches coming at home, they have an opportunity to do so.
“We work(ed) a lot this week on our serve and serve-receive game,” said McRoberts, who expressed hopes this week that the team can clean up the mistakes and move on from its tough loss at Florida.
The Rebels will play Georgia at 6 p.m. Friday and Auburn at 2 p.m. Sunday. Both games will have promotional giveaways: The first 200 in attendance on Friday will receive plastic Ole Miss Volleyball mason jars, and the first 100 in attendance on Sunday will receive ice cream sandwiches.