ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team will begin the second half of its South Atlantic Conference schedule when the Trojans play host to Catawba and Queens this weekend at the Abney Athletic Center.
In the first meeting of the season between the teams, AU will square off against Catawba, Friday night at 7 p.m. and will play host to Queens, Saturday at 2 p.m.
Admission to each volleyball match is free.
Entering the second half of its conference schedule, Anderson (18-2, 9-1 SAC) is one of 17 teams in the nation with two or less losses on the season and is ninth nationally with its .900 win percentage. The Trojans are in second place in the league standings, a half-game behind Wingate and two games ahead of third-place Mars Hill.
With the four-set win over Lenoir-Rhyne two nights ago, the Trojans have stretched their home win streak to 21 consecutive matches and have not lost at home since falling to Newberry on Oct. 18, 2016. Balance on both offense and defense has been one of the keys to AU's success this season, with four players posting more than 100 kills and five players with more than 100 digs on the year.
The Trojans rank in the top 33 nationally in nine offensive and defensive categories and continue to lead the league in kills, assists, service aces and digs and aces.
Junior setter Emily Conlin is the only player in the conference with more than 700 assists and 200 digs on the season, as the Glendale, Ariz., native leads the SAC in assists (753), assists per set (11.58/set) and aces (34). She has 10 double-doubles on the year and has dished out 40+ assists on 10 occasions.
Senior Jayln Knight has climbed to third in the conference with a team-high 180 kills on the season, while ranking 15th in digs, 18th in digs per set and 21st in hitting percentage. The Redlands, Calif., native posted a career-high 19 kills in the win over Lenoir-Rhyne behind a .500 hitting percentage.
Redshirt sophomore Hailee Wilhelm is third on the team with 143 kills and has reached double-digit kills in three of the last four matches. She is tied for 13th in the SAC with 36 blocks. Sophomore Regan Duty has 132 kills on the season and has tallied double-figure kills in four of the Trojans' last five outings, including two straight. Freshman Meghan DeVaux leads the squad and ranks sixth in the league with 279 digs. Conlin and Knight have added 239 digs and 223 digs, respectively.
Senior Emily Conard has recorded 152 digs, while classmate Megan Embry has notched 131 on the season. Redshirt freshman Hannah Worsham, who is second on the squad with 29 block assists, has posted a dozen block assists in the last two matches alone.
The Lady Indians, who posted a 6-19 overall record a season ago, including a 4-16 mark and an 11th-place finish in the conference, were a preseason pick to finish 10th in the 2018 SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Catawba (5-13, 1-6 SAC) enters the weekend looking to snap a five-game losing skid and is seeking its fourth road win of the season.
The Lady Indians returned all but one starter from last year's team that finished the season with three wins in their final four contests.
The Series vs. Catawba
The Trojans and Lady Indians have met just 16 times, all as members of the South Atlantic Conference. AU holds an 11-5 advantage in the overall series and has won 10 of the last 12 meetings, including three straight.
The teams split the regular-season matchups during Anderson's inaugural season in the league in 2010, with the Trojans winning seven straight over Catawba before the Lady Indians blanked AU in the second regular-season matchup in Salisbury during the 2015 campaign. Anderson had swept the regular-season matchups from 2012-14 after Catawba swept both meetings during the 2011 season.
The Royals, who posted a 23-8 overall record a season ago, including a 14-6 mark and a third-place finish in the conference, were a preseason pick to finish third in the 2018 SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Queens (8-8, 4-5 SAC) lost four starters from last year's team that captured the 2017 SAC Tournament Championship, but returned senior Taylor Henry and sophomore Casey Tarvin, who each earned a nod as preseason all-conference honorees.
Henry, a second team all-conference honoree last season, was named first team as a middle hitter. The Kingsport, Tenn., native started all 31 matches for Queens last season and led the team with a .347 hitting percentage and was fourth on the team with 234 kills (2.02 kills per set). Tarvin, an all-freshman and all-tournament honoree a year ago, was placed on the preseason second team after leading Queens last season with 298 kills. She tallied 215 digs and 36 total blocks.
The Royals have won two straight after snapping a three-match skid by blanking Coker, 3-0. Queens is coming off a four-set home win over Carson-Newman last Saturday.
The Series vs. Queens
The Trojans are 26-11 versus Queens over the past 19 seasons and have won 23 of the last 28 meetings, including four of the last five matchups. The two teams have met just 11 times since 2009, when both were members of Conference Carolinas, with Queens joining the SAC in 2013.
The Trojans defeated Queens, 3-1, in last season's first regular-season matchup in Charlotte, N.C., in a victory that ignited AU's school-record 22-match win streak, then swept the Royals at the Abney Center in mid-October and again in the opening round of the NCAA Southeast Region Tournament in St. Augustine, Fla.