ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team celebrated both Homecoming and Senior Night by upsetting league-leading and previously unbeaten Wingate, 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 18-25, 25-19) Friday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson improved to 25-3 overall and 16-2 in South Atlantic Conference action, while knocking the Bulldogs from the ranks of the unbeaten and stretching its home win streak to 25 matches. Wingate, which was the lone remaining unbeaten team in the NCAA Division II ranks, slipped to 23-1 overall and 16-1 in the league.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Redshirt sophomore Hailee Wilhelm led all players with 16 kills behind a .400 hitting percentage, while sophomore Regan Duty added 13 kills on a .355 hitting percentage. Junior setter Emily Conlin posted her 17th double-double of the season with 45 assists and 12 digs, while senior Jayln Knight recorded six kills and 12 digs. Seniors Emily Conard and Megan Embry each chipped in a dozen digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Both teams posted an impressive hitting percentage in the opening frame, with AU notching a .375 accuracy and the Bulldogs posting a .346 hitting percentage.
The first set featured six ties, with neither team able to build more than a two-point advantage in the early going. Wilhelm's second kill of the night snapped a 9-9 deadlock and gave the Trojans their first lead of the contest, but Wingate quickly countered to even the score for the fifth time.
AU regained the lead on an error by the Bulldogs and pushed out to a 13-10 edge, which prompted a Wingate timeout. Following the break, the Bulldogs posted three consecutive points to knot the score at 13 apiece, with Knight knocking down a kill to give AU a lead it would not relinquish.
Leading, 15-14, Wilhelm sparked a surge and freshman Liliana Kinder posted two of her nine kills on the night to push AU's advantage to 20-14 and the Trojans led by at least three the rest of the way.
The second frame saw five early ties, with Kinder's solo block breaking an early 5-5 deadlock and igniting a decisive 8-1 run by the Trojans. Hannah Worsham helped fuel the breakout with a pair of blocks and Duty knocked down two kills during the surge, as AU built a 13-6 cushion.
Wingate countered with four consecutive points to get within three, but would get no closer, as the Trojans answered with four straight points of their own and later claimed an insurmountable 22-12 lead and went on to claim the nine-point win.
AU scored the first point of the set, but the Bulldogs countered by claiming a 4-2 edge before the Trojans rallied to even the score at five apiece.
Wingate then posted three consecutive points and held the lead until the Black and Gold knotted the score at 14 apiece and again at 15-15. But the 'Dogs then regained the momentum by scoring four straight points and AU was unable to recover.
The Trojans capitalized on a service error by Wingate to break an early 4-4 tie, while sophomore Christina Stacy followed with an ace and Conlin knocked down a kill to give AU a 7-4 lead.
AU steadily built a 14-9 edge, which prompted a Wingate timeout, but after the pause, the Bulldogs notched a 7-1 run to claim their first lead of the frame, at 16-15. The score was knotted four more times before Wilhelm hammered back-to-back kills to give the Black and Gold a 21-19 lead and AU closed the set with four straight points.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Trojans' .333 hitting percentage was their fourth-highest of the season.
• Wingate was the lone unbeaten team in NCAA Division II.
• The Trojans have defeated the Bulldogs three straight times at the Abney Center.
• Wingate was the preseason favorite among the league's coaches to win the regular-season title.
• The Trojans bid farewell to five seniors who have helped lead the Black and Gold to 83 victories, four South Atlantic Conference Tournament appearances, a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and the 2017 SAC Regular Season Championship.
• Sophomore Hailee Wilhelm has averaged 15 ½ kills over the last four matches.
• Sophomore Regan Duty has 41 kills in the last three matches.
• Senior Jayln Knight averaged 10 kills and 14 digs over the last three matches
• Freshman Liliana Kinder has averaged nearly 11 kills per match over the last four outings.
• Senior Emily Conard has averaged nearly 12 digs per match over the last five matches.
Following a six-day layoff, Anderson will wrap up its regular-season slate with a two-match road swing beginning at Catawba, Friday night. First-serve versus the Indians in Salisbury, N.C. is set for 7 p.m.