CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a battle between unbeaten teams early in the season, the Anderson University volleyball team opened the Queens Fall Classic with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-23) setback to Augusta, Friday afternoon at the Royals' Levine Center.
Anderson (4-1) posted its lowest hitting percentage (.079) of the season, while suffering its first loss of the campaign. Augusta improved to 4-0 with its fourth consecutive win over the Trojans.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn Grube led all players with 11 kills and notched her third double-double of the season by recording 10 digs. Sophomore Regan Duty added nine kills, with freshman Liliana Kinder chipping in four kills. Junior setter Emily Conlin dished out a match-high 30 assists and added eight digs, while senior outside hitter Jayln Knight posted a team-high 15 digs. Freshman defensive specialist Meghan DeVaux notched a season-high 13 digs. Freshman middle blocker Noelle Knutsen recorded four block assists and a solo block on the afternoon.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans were unable to overcome 10 attack errors and trailed by as many as nine points late in the set as they struggled to get their offense untracked.
AU jumped out to an early 5-2 lead behind a pair of kills from Duty, but the Jaguars responded with a 7-1 surge to claim a 9-6 edge, before the Trojans countered with three unanswered points – including two kills from Grube - to knot the score for the fourth and final time of the frame, at nine apiece.
Augusta then took control of the set by posting an 11-3 scoring outburst that gave the Lady Jags an eight-point cushion. AU closed within seven on another kill by Duty, but was unable to get any closer down the stretch.
A string of eight unanswered points by Augusta proved to be the Trojans' undoing in the second frame.
The set featured 11 ties with neither team able to build more than a two-point lead until late in the set. With the score even at 14-14, Augusta rattled off the eight straight points to take control and went on to win by the seven-point margin.
The Trojans fell behind early, but mounted a furious rally that fell just shy as Augusta held on for the narrow victory.
The back-and-forth battle saw the Lady Jags pull away and build their largest lead of the set, at 19-12, behind a 6-1 surge before freshman Maya Learmonth knocked down a kill to spark three straight points by AU as part of a 10-2 scoring outburst. With Grube posting a kill and combining on a block, the Black and Gold captured its first lead of the set, at 21-20.
The score was knotted three more times before Augusta pulled out the two-point win.
• The Trojans are 2-1 versus schools from the Peach Belt Conference this season.
• The Trojans' bid to become the first AU squad since 2010 to open a season with five consecutive victories fell just shy.
• Kaitlyn Grube has three double-doubles on the season.
• Jayln Knight has two double-doubles this season.
• Emily Conlin has reached double-figure assists in every match this season.
Anderson will look to get back in the win column when the Trojans square off against their second straight Peach Belt Conference-foe, Georgia College, tonight at 7:30 p.m.