SALISBURY, N.C. – Led by sophomore Hailee Wilhelm's 13 kills, the Anderson University volleyball team opened its final regular-season road swing by blanking Catawba, 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-23) Friday night at Goodman Gymnasium.
Anderson improved to 26-3 overall and 17-2 in the conference, while sweeping the season series with the Lady Indians and has won 10 of its last 11 contests.
Catawba fell to 9-21 and 5-14, while dropping its first decision in three outings.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Wilhelm led all players with the 13 kills on a .591 hitting percentage and also recorded a pair of block assists, while senior Jayln Knight and junior Kathryn Hughes each added eight kills apiece. Knight also came up with 15 digs, while sophomore Regan Duty and the freshman tandem of Hannah Worsham and Liliana Kinder each posted five kills apiece. Junior setter Emily Conlin notched her 18th double-double of the campaign with 37 assists and a match-high 19 digs. Senior Emily Conard notched 13 digs, with freshman Meghan DeVaux tallying 12 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Catawba scored the first point of the set, but with DeVaux serving, the Trojans rattled off eight unanswered points to quickly take control of the frame. Wilhelm notched three kills and Knight added a pair of kills during the outburst and with AU hitting .500 at that point, the Trojans jumped out to the seven-point lead.
The Trojans led by at least four the rest of the way, while taking a double-digit, 21-11, lead on Knight's fourth kill. AU pushed out to a 24-11 advantage, before Catawba held off set point four times. Wilhelm finished off the win with her sixth kill.
Hughes snapped the second tie of the frame with a kill and sparked a brief 4-0 run by the Trojans that gave them an early 7-4 lead. The Black and Gold surged to a 10-6 advantage and later held another four-point lead (13-9) before the Lady Indians notched three straight points to climb within just a single point.
Another kill from Hughes halted Catawba's rally and the Trojans steadily built on the lead before finishing with the double-digit win.
The Trojans rallied from an early 6-2 deficit and used an impressive 12-2 scoring outburst to claim a 14-8 advantage. Catawba countered with four consecutive points to close within two, before Kinder knocked down her fifth kill and ignited six unanswered points by the Trojans, giving them a 20-12 cushion.
Catawba responded with nine straight points to claim a late 21-20 edge, before Knight settled the Trojans with a kill and knotted the score for just the third time of the set. AU then capitalized on a Catawba error to claim a lead they would not surrender and Wilhelm posted back-to-back kills to give AU a 24-21 lead. The Lady Indians answered with two straight scores before Wilhelm secured the win with her 13th kill.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Trojans posted a .469 hitting percentage in the opening set.
• The Trojans have clinched at least the second seed in next week's SAC Tournament and will host a quarterfinal matchup, Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
• The Trojans are the second team in program history to win at least 26 matches, trailing only last season's squad that notched 28 victories.
• AU trails Wingate by one game with one remaining in the chase for the SAC regular-season title.
• Hailee Wilhelm has averaged 15 kills over the last five matches.
• Sophomore Regan Duty has 46 kills in the last four matches.
• Senior Jayln Knight has averaged 9.5 kills and more than 14 digs over the last four matches.
• Conard has averaged 12 digs per match over the last six matches.
• Conlin has 18 double-doubles on the season, including six straight.
• Knight has a dozen-doubles on the season, including two in the last four matches.
• The Trojans have posted 15 sweeps this season.
Anderson will close out the regular season by squaring off against Queens, Saturday afternoon. First-serve is set for 2 p.m. at the Levine Center. The Trojans will be seeking a sweep of the season series after defeating the Royals, 3-1 (25-22, 25-15, 20-25, 25-21) in early October at the Abney Center.
SAC TOURNAMENT INDIVIDUAL DAILY TICKETS
Quarterfinals: Adult - $ 5.00; Youth (12 and under)/Senior (60+) Active or Retired Military - $3.00; College Students with college ID - $ 2.00
Semifinals (at Coker): Adult - $ 10.00; Youth (12 and under)/Senior (60+) Active or Retired Military - $5.00; College Students with college ID - $ 2.00
Finals (at Coker): Adult - $ 8.00; Youth (12 and under)/Senior (60+) Active or Retired Military - $4.00; College Students with college ID - $ 2.00