MARS HILL, N.C. – With three players notching double-figure kills, the Anderson University volleyball team wrapped up its nine-match road swing and opened South Atlantic Conference action with a four-set, 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-18, 25-22) win over Mars Hill, Tuesday night at Stanford Arena.
"As we discussed in the preseason, this Mars Hill team is much improved from last year," said Anderson head coach Todd Hay. "Stanford Arena is always a tough place to get a win and we are very glad to go home with a victory. It was truly a team effort. Hats off to all the players and coaches who hung in there and pulled off a tough win. We definitely needed all the kills and digs from so many different players. Again, truly a team win."
Anderson improved to 8-1 overall and 1-0 in the SAC with its fourth straight victory and fourth consecutive win over the Lions, while Mars Hill (3-2, 0-1 SAC) suffered its first loss in three decisions.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn Grube led all players with 14 kills and added seven digs, while senior outside hitter Jayln Knight posted her fourth double-double of the campaign with a dozen kills and 24 digs. Sophomore Hailee Wilhelm notched 10 kills, with freshman Meghan DeVaux recording a career-high 31 digs. Junior setter Emily Conlin added her third double-double of the season with a season-high 52 assists and 22 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans trailed just once – after Mars Hill scored the first point of the set – while a pair of kills from both sophomore Regan Duty and Wilhelm propelled AU to an early 7-3 lead. But Trojan miscues enabled the Lions to climb within one, at 7-6, before Knight and Grube knocked down back-to-back kills to slow the Lions and give AU some breathing room.
Later leading, 10-8, the Trojans rattled off four unanswered points to build their advantage to 14-8 and held at least a three-point lead the rest of the way.
The Trojans fell behind early, but stayed within striking distance and gradually erased a four-point deficit. With the score knotted for the second time, at 11 apiece, Grube and freshman Liliana Knider combined on a block to give AU its first lead since scoring the first point of the frame.
But the lead was brief, as the Lions quickly evened the score at 12-12, before Kinder knocked down a kill and the Trojans capitalized on a Mars Hill error to grab their largest lead of the set, at 14-12.
However, the Lions responded with a 6-2 run that gave them a lead they would not surrender. Trailing by four (21-17), the Trojans mounted a late rally that slashed the deficit to just 22-21 on Grube's third kill of the frame, but MHU countered with three straight points.
The third set featured seven early ties and five lead changes before Grube helped lead a 5-1 surge that saw AU take a 12-8 advantage.
Wilhelm then fueled a run that gave the Trojans a six-point lead, while Kathryn Hughes posted all four of her kills on the night during the set to help keep the Lions at bay.
The Trojans overcame a five-point deficit, with freshman Maya Learmonth snapping a 15-15 deadlock with a kill and giving the Black and Gold the lead for good.
Sophomore Christina Stacy capped a 4-0 run that gave AU a 19-15 edge and the Trojans built a 24-20 lead before Mars Hill held off match point twice before redshirt freshman Hannah Worsham clinched the win with her third kill of the night.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Trojans recorded a season-high 59 assists.
• The Trojans rank 14th in the nation in assists per set (13.35/set).
• Emily Conlin ranks fifth nationally in assists per set (12.09/set).
• The Trojans improved to 2-0 in true road contests.
• Meghan DeVaux has reached double-figure digs in five straight matches.
Anderson opens its home schedule with a tri-match on Friday. The Trojans will play host to conference-foe Coker at 1 p.m., with the Cobras squaring off against Erskine at 3 p.m. AU and Erskine are slated to face each other at 6 p.m.