ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team is scheduled to make its home debut on Friday, as the Trojans will welcome fellow South Atlantic Conference-member, Coker and longtime rival Erskine to the Abney Athletic Center for a tri-match.
The Trojans will square off against Coker at 1 p.m., with the Cobras slated to face Erskine at 3 p.m. AU and Erskine will cap the day with a 6 p.m. contest.
Admission to each volleyball match is free.
Anderson (8-1) is off to the second-fastest start in program history – behind just the 2004 squad, which began the season with an 11-1 mark. Traditionally, the home hardwood has been favorable to AU, as the Trojans have won seven of their eight home openers since joining the SAC in 2010, with the lone setback coming at the hands of Tusculum during the 2014 season.
The Trojans opened the week ranked 14th in the nation in assists per set and lead the conference in kills, kills per set and assists, while standing second in service aces and block assists.
Emily Conlin, the reigning SAC Specialist of the Week, began the week ranking fifth nationally in assists per set. The junior setter posted season-highs in both assists (52) and digs (22) in last Tuesday night's four-set win at Mars Hill. Conlin has three double-doubles on the season and leads the league in assists per set and ranks second in total assists. The Glendale, Ariz., native is third with 13 aces and stands 10th with 95 digs.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Grube has posted three double-doubles, while reaching double-figure kills in five contests, including the last two. The Colfax, N.C., native leads AU and ranks second in the SAC with 84 kills on the season. Senior Jayln Knight has notched four double-doubles and reached double-digit kills on four occasions. The native of Redlands, Calif., has posted six matches with at least 11 digs, including a season-high 24 two nights ago at Mars Hill.
Junior outside hitter Kathryn Hughes is third on the squad with 47 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 2.88 kills per set. Freshman Meghan DeVaux paces the Trojans and ranks fourth in the conference with 109 digs, while fellow newcomer Noelle Knutsen has posted 17 total blocks to lead the Black and Gold. Sophomore Hailee Wilhelm is just behind with 16 total blocks.
The Cobras, who posted a 14-17 overall record a season ago, including a 7-13 mark and an eighth place finish in the conference, were a preseason pick to finish ninth in the 2018 SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Junior setter/right-side hitter Taylor du Bray, the reigning SAC Player of the Week, earned Preseason Second-Team All-Conference accolades prior to the season.
Coker (7-2, 0-1 SAC) had won five straight before dropping its conference opener in five sets two nights ago at Queens. Before falling to the Royals, Coker was off to its best start since the 1998 season.
The Series vs. Coker
The Trojans own a 30-7 record versus the Cobras over the past 20 seasons and have won 19 of the last 22 meetings, including 17 straight.
In three matchups with Coker last season, including a meeting in the quarterfinals of the SAC Tournament, Hughes knocked down 24 kills (3.00/set), while Knight registered 17 kills, 29 digs and three block assists. Conlin recorded 108 assists (12.00/set) and led the squad with 40 total digs. Conlin and Conard also posted four service aces apiece, while Conard also notched 37 digs.
The Flying Fleet, who posted a 2-23 overall record a season ago, including a 1-14 mark and an 11th-place finish in Conference Carolinas were a preseason pick to finish 11th in the 2018 Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches' Poll after winning the Conference Carolinas South Division two seasons ago.
Erskine is 1-7 on the season after opening the campaign with four straight losses at the Flagler Invitational and dropping three of four decisions at the Fleet Classic last weekend. The Flying Fleet's lone win has come at the expense of Virginia-Wise, last Friday at Belk Arena.
The Series vs. Erskine
With two wins in the last two meetings, Anderson has claimed a 6-4 edge in the overall series between the two programs since they resumed the rivalry in 2009. The Trojans have swept Erskine in three of the last four contests at the Abney Center and four times in the last seven matchups overall.
In last year's matchup in Due West, S.C., Hailee Wilhelm notched five kills, with Conlin handing out a match-high 30 assists and coming up with a team-best eight digs, while notching four aces on the night.