ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team will be looking to cool off one of the hottest teams in the South Atlantic Conference when the Trojans welcome Mars Hill to the Abney Athletic Center for a Tuesday night contest. First-serve versus the Lions is set for 7 p.m.
Admission to each volleyball match is free.
By sweeping Catawba last Friday night and knocking off Queens in four sets on Saturday afternoon, Anderson (20-2, 11-1 SAC) improved to 8-0 at home this season and stretched its home win streak to 23 consecutive matches.
The Trojans have reached the 20-win plateau for the second straight season and the third time in five years, while posting 19 wins in both 2013 and 2016.
The Trojans rank 13th nationally in total assists, 15th in total kills, 19th in total digs and 21st in opponent's hitting percentage.
Junior setter Emily Conlin handed out 128 assists, came up with 52 digs and notched eight service aces in the Trojans' three wins last week, while notching her ninth, 10th and 11th double-doubles of the season, as AU defeated Lenoir-Rhyne, Catawba and Queens at the Abney Center.
Conlin equaled her third-highest output of the season by handing out 50 assists and came up with 19 digs in the win over L-R, while dishing out 35 assists and recording 15 digs in the three-set win over Catawba. She finished off the week with 43 assists, 18 digs and a pair of service aces in Saturday's win over Queens. Conlin continues to lead the league in assists, assists per set, aces and aces per set, while ranking 13th in digs and 14th in digs per set.
Senior outside hitter Jayln Knight knocked down 39 kills (3.55/set) on the strength of a .337 hitting percentage and came up with 32 digs last week. She is one of only two players in the league with at least 200 kills and 200 digs.
Knight has nine double-doubles on the season, including a double-double in Saturday's win over Queens. She led all players with a season-high 19 kills on the strength of a .500 hitting percentage in last week's victory over L-R and tallied eight kills with 10 digs against Catawba. She finished off the week with 12 kills and 16 digs against Queens. The versatile outside hitter is fourth in the SAC in kills, 14th in digs, 16th in kills per set, 17th in digs per set and 19th in hitting percentage.
Sophomore Hailee Wilhelm is second on the team with 162 kills, has reached double-figure kills in two of the last three matches and ranks 18th in the conference with 37 blocks. Fellow sophomore Regan Duty has 152 kills on the season and has tallied double-figure kills in five of the Trojans' last seven contests, while knocking down 43 kills in the last four matches.
Since entering the starting rotation in late September, freshman Liliana kinder has averaged more than 10 kills per match, while fellow newcomer Meghan DeVaux leads the squad and ranks sixth in the league with 311 digs.
Senior Emily Conard has recorded 175 digs on the season, including 70 in the last five matches, while classmate Megan Embry has notched 141 on the year. Redshirt freshman Hannah Worsham leads the team with 39 blocks, including 19 over the last four contests.
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 (13-4, 7-2 SAC) has won nine of its last 10 outings, including six straight and has climbed into third place in the league standings, 2 ½ games behind the Trojans. The Lions are coming off an impressive, 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-15) sweep of Carson-Newman two days ago on the Lady Eagles' home court.
The Series vs. Mars Hill
The Trojans swept last year's regular-season series with Mars Hill and have won four straight past the Lions after dropping three consecutive decisions to them during the 2015 and 2016 campaigns. AU opened its 2018 conference schedule with a 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-15, 25-22) win at Mars Hill in early September.
With last month's victory, the Trojans lead the overall series, 13-11. 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.