WINGATE, N.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team suffered its first South Atlantic Conference setback of the season, as preseason league favorite Wingate defeated the Trojans, 3-1 (26-24, 24-26, 25-19, 25-13), Friday night at Cuddy Arena.
Anderson (16-2, 7-1 SAC) posted its lowest attack percentage of the season (.024), while suffering just its second setback of the campaign and first conference loss of the season. Wingate improved to 12-0 overall and 5-0 in the league.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Sophomore middle Hailee Wilhelm led the Trojans with 12 kills, while freshman Liliana Kinder added 10 kills. Junior setter Emily Conlin handed out 31 assists and came up with a team-high 17 digs, while freshman Meghan DeVaux tallied 13 digs. Junior Kathryn Hughes recorded 12 digs, with senior Jayln Knight adding 11 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After jumping out to a large early advantage, the Bulldogs were forced to rally for the win.
The Trojans committed four attack errors in the early going, which enabled Wingate to jump out to a quick 7-1 lead. But the Trojans settled down and refused to surrender and after falling behind, AU stormed back with four unanswered points to trim the deficit to just two, with DeVaux capping the early rally with a pair of aces.
AU continued to chip away at the deficit and after Hughes and Kinder sandwiched kills around a bad set by Wingate, the Trojans capitalized on back-to-back attack errors by the 'Dogs to claim their first lead of the set, at 13-12.
The Trojans' momentum continued, as they steadily built a 21-15 advantage and pushed out to a 23-19 edge, but were unable to sustain the push, as Wingate rallied to post seven of the final eight points to claim the win.
The second frame was tied four times early and on 11 occasions overall, with neither team able to build more than a four-point lead.
After falling behind, 10-6, the Trojans rallied behind kills by Knight and Wilhelm and capitalized on four attack errors by the Bulldogs to take their first lead of the frame, at 13-12, when Kinder and Hannah Worsham combined on a block.
Wingate edged back out to a 20-16 advantage, before the Trojans stormed back to knot the score for the eighth time, at 21 apiece, on a service ace by Knight. The score was tied three more times before AU capitalized on an attack error by the 'Dogs and Conlin polished off the set with an ace.
The Trojans were unable to overcome 11 attack errors in the frame, as Wingate snapped a 5-5 deadlock with six unanswered points and gradually pushed out to a double-digit, 18-8, advantage.
With sophomore Christina Stacy serving, the Trojans scored four unanswered points and pulled within 18-12 before Wingate pushed back out to a nine-point edge behind three consecutive points.
AU countered by climbing within five on two occasions and trimming the deficit to 22-18 when Wilhelm and Conlin combined on a block. But it was as close as the Black and Gold would get, as Wingate scored three of the set's final four points.
The Trojans fell behind early and were unable to recover, as Wingate carried the momentum over into the final frame and posted a .556 hitting percentage in the final frame.
Wingate opened a 12-5 advantage and pushed out to a double-digit, 20-10, edge before going on to claim the 12-point win.
• The Trojans suffered their first true road loss in six outings.
• Liliana Kinder posted double-figure kills for the second straight outing.
• Conlin posted her eighth double-double of the campaign.
AU will look to get back in the win column on Saturday, when the Trojans square off against Coker in Hartsville, S.C. First-serve versus the Cobras is set for 2 p.m.