ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team is slated to wrap up its season-opening nine-match road swing and open South Atlantic Conference play Tuesday night at Mars Hill. First-serve versus the Lions at Stanford Arena is set for 7 p.m.
With three victories over the weekend, Anderson (7-1) became the first AU squad to open the season with a 7-1 record since the 2014 team also started the season with an identical mark.
Junior setter Emily Conlin leads the conference in digs per set and ranks second in total assists, while standing seventh in aces, 13th in digs and 19th in digs per set. The native of Glendale, Ariz., has recorded two double-doubles and dished out 266 assists (12.09/set), despite not playing in the latter stages in three of AU's five sweeps. She has posted match-high assist totals in seven of the eight matches and has reached the 30+ assist plateau in four contests, including a season-high 50 in the season-opening win over Indianapolis.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Grube has recorded three double-doubles and is second in the conference in total kills despite also sitting out the latter stages in three of AU's wins. Grube ranks 15th in the SAC in block assists and 22nd in the conference in digs. Grube, from Colfax, N.C., began the season with a career-high 15 kills against both Indianapolis and Francis Marion and also reached double-figure kills against Augusta and Converse.
Senor Jayln Knight's all-around efforts have the Redlands, Calif., native leading the team in digs and standing third in the league with 66 kills. She is also ninth in the league with eight aces.
Junior outside hitter Kathryn Hughes is third on the squad with 43 kills after notching double-digit kills against Indianapolis and Converse, while freshman Regan Duty is second on the team and 12th in the league with 3.00 kills per set. Freshman Meghan DeVaux stands second on the team with 78 digs, while senior Emily Conard is just behind with 73 digs. Newcomer Noelle Knutsen has posted 17 total blocks, while sophomore Hailee Wilhelm has recorded 15 blocks through 17 sets.
The Lions, who posted an 11-17 overall record a season ago, including a 9-11 mark and a sixth place finish in the conference, were a preseason pick to finish seventh in the 2018 SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Junior middle hitter Sally Anne Johnson was named Preseason Second-Team All-SAC, after garnering Honorable Mention all-conference accolades at the conclusion of last season.
Mars Hill is 3-1 on the season after posting four-set wins over Belmont Abbey and King at the SAC Regional Crossover last Saturday.
The Series vs. Mars Hill
The Trojans swept last year's regular-season series with Mars Hill and have won three straight past the Lions after dropping three consecutive decisions to them during the 2015 and 2016 campaigns.
With last season's victories, the Trojans lead the overall series, 12-11. After MHU won the first-ever meeting in 1997, the Trojans won five of the next six meetings over the following 11 seasons. After the Trojans earned three straight wins over the Lions to gain a narrow advantage in the overall series, Mars Hill swept the 2015 season's regular-season matchups to claim a 10-9 edge in the overall series.
Anderson defeated the Lions in AU's inaugural season in the SAC in 2010, with Mars Hill countering by claiming seven straight wins before AU won the 2013 series finale over the Lions and swept both regular-season matchups four years ago.
With the three-set road win at Mars Hill last November, the Trojans clinched their first-ever South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship. Conlin handed out 39 assists and cemented a double-double with 11 digs. Conard came up with 26 digs, with Knight recording 14 digs.