HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team posted a pair of sweeps on Saturday at the Coker/Francis Marion Fall Invitational. After blanking Virginia Union, 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-11) at FMU's Smith University Center, the Trojans followed up by sweeping UNC Pembroke, 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-19) at Coker's DeLoach Center in their final match of the two-day event.
Anderson improved to 4-0 by notching their third consecutive sweep of the early season, while Virginia Union dropped to 1-2 and UNC Pembroke fell to 1-2 on the season.
"It was a good opening weekend and we got to see everyone on the active roster participate," said Anderson head coach Todd Hay. "It's so critical this time of year to get some younger players on the court and help them settle the nerves. That's just something you can't duplicate in practice. Glad we were able to secure four wins but we can't rest on that with four more key in-region matches this coming weekend."
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Sophomore Regan Duty led a balanced Trojan attack with seven kills, while sophomore middle blocker Hailee Wilhelm and freshman Liliana Kinder each posted six kills. The freshman duo of Noelle Knutsen and Maya Learmonth chipped in five kills apiece. Freshman setter Madison Roy dished out a match-high 21 assists, while junior setter Emily Conlin recorded 10 assists. Senior Megan Embry shared match-high honors with eight digs, while freshman Meghan DeVaux added seven digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
With Conlin and sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn Grube serving, the Trojans raced out to a quick 8-1 lead and never trailed, while hitting .417 in the opening frame.
Virginia Union climbed within three, at 10-7, before Conlin knocked down a kill that sparked a 10-4 run and gave AU a late nine-point lead.
The Trojans again struck quickly, while building a 14-5 advantage behind four kills from Kinder in the early going.
After the Panthers closed within 15-10, AU built a nine-point cushion on two occasions before finishing the set with the nine-point win.
Behind Duty's four early kills, the Trojans doubled up Virginia Union, 10-5, and went on to build a double-digit, 16-6, advantage and finished by claiming the 14-point victory.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Learmonth shared game-high honors with seven kills, while Grube and Hughes each added six kills apiece. Conlin led all players with 27 assists, while Roy handed out a dozen assists. DeVaux recorded a match-best nine digs, with Megan Embry and Jayln Knight each tallying seven digs apiece. Sophomore middle blocker Hailee Wilhelm notched three block assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans posted a stellar .385 hitting percentage and snapped a 6-6 deadlock with a 10-3 run to gain a seven-point lead midway through the frame and force a timeout by the Braves.
The pause didn't slow the Trojans, as Wilhelm and Grube each knocked down a kill to help AU build a double-digit lead, at 21-11, and go on to post the double-figure victory.
AU notched 14 kills with just one attack error in 30 attempts for an even better hitting percentage (.433) in the second frame. Behind Conlin's serves, the Trojans jumped out to a 4-1 edge and never looked back.
AU steadily build a double-digit, 17-7, advantage with Learmonth, Wilhelm and Hughes each garnering three kills during the breakout.
The Trojans scored the first three points of the final set, with Duty and Kinder each collecting five kills apiece.
AU trailed 12-9, but battled back to knot the score at 15 apiece, before a kill from Duty gave the Trojans a lead they would not relinquish. The Black and Gold pushed out to a 21-18 lead to force a UNCP timeout and closed out the win with a 4-1 surge.
• The Trojans have opened the season with four consecutive wins for the second straight year and the fourth time in seven seasons.
• The Trojans have ripped off 22 service aces through four matches.
• Emily Conlin leads the conference with 13.00 assists per set.
• Regan Duty leads the SAC with a .545 hitting percentage.
Following a five-day layoff, AU travels to Charlotte, N.C., for the Queens Fall Classic. The Trojans are slated to face Augusta and Georgia College on Friday, then will square off against Barton and Converse, Saturday afternoon.