ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team is set to open the month of October with its longest homestand of the season when the Trojans welcome Lenoir-Rhyne to the Abney Athletic Center, Tuesday night. First-serve versus the Bears is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Admission to each volleyball match is free.
With a split of its weekend road contests, Anderson (17-2, 8-1 SAC) slipped to second place in the unbalanced league standings and is 1 ½ games ahead of surging Lenoir-Rhyne.
AU saw its 12-match win streak snapped three nights ago at Wingate, but bounced back to defeat Coker in four sets on Saturday afternoon. The Trojans are riding a 20-match win streak at the Abney Center and have not lost at home since falling to Newberry on Oct. 18, 2016.
Nearly midway through the conference schedule, the Trojans lead the league in kills, assists and aces, while standing second in the SAC in kills per set, hitting percentage, assists per set and digs.
Junior setter Emily Conlin paces the SAC with nearly 200 more assists than the nearest competitor and also continues to lead the conference in assists per set and service aces. The Glendale, Ariz., native ranks 13th in the league in digs and 15th in digs per set. She has nine double-doubles this season, including four straight, and has dished out 40+ assists nine times.
Senior Jayln Knight leads the team and is fourth in the league with 161 kills on the season, while ranking 15th and 17th in digs and digs per set, respectively. The Redlands, Calif., native has recorded eight double-doubles and has notched double-digit kills eight times. Despite missing the last two contests, sophomore Kaitlyn Grube is second on the team and sixth in the conference with 153 kills and a 3.12 kills per set average.
Redshirt sophomore Hailee Wilhelm is third on the team with 133 kills and has tallied double-figure kills in two of the last three matches. She is tied for 13th in the SAC with 35 blocks. Sophomore Regan Duty is fourth on the squad with 122 kills, while freshman Meghan DeVaux leads the Trojans and ranks fifth in the conference with 265 digs.
The Bears, who posted a 10-16 overall record a season ago, including a 6-14 mark and a ninth-place finish in the conference, were a preseason pick to finish eighth in the 2018 SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
One of the hottest teams in the conference, the Bears have won five straight matches, including four consecutive home contests, after snapping a three-match skid by knocking off Mars Hill in five sets on Sept. 18.
Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Prall earned Preseason Second-Team All-SAC honors for the Bears. The reigning SAC Freshman of the Year finished second on the team with 255 kills and added 219 digs, 37 blocks and seven service aces a year ago.
Senior outside hitter Angelica Arroyo was named SAC Player of the Week earlier today after helping the Bears extend their winning streak to five with a pair of wins in conference sweeps of Tusculum and Lincoln Memorial. Freshman setter Helen Hamilton earned SAC Specialist of the Week accolades after compiling three kills, 74 assists (12.33 per set), 18 digs, and four block assists on the week.
The Series vs. Lenoir-Rhyne
The Trojans and Bears have met just 20 times over the past 19 seasons, with AU holding an 11-9 edge in the overall series that dates back to the 2000 campaign. The Bears won the first-ever matchup, 3-0, and the series saw a seven-year lapse before L-R edged Anderson, 3-2, during the 2008 season.
The two squads have met 18 times as members of the SAC. Anderson has won nine of the last 11 matchups, including four straight. Nine of the 20 contests between the two teams have gone the full five-set distance.
In the last matchup – a 3-0 win by the Trojans in mid-September at Shuford Gymnasium - Grube led all players with 14 kills, while Wilhelm added 11 kills on the strength of a .429 hitting percentage. Knight notched a double-double with 11 digs and 10 kills, while hitting .526 on the night. Conlin handed out 42 assists and recorded a pair of service aces, while redshirt freshman Hannah Worsham garnered three block assists. DeVaux recorded a match-high 16 digs, with senior Megan Embry adding 12 digs.