ANDERSON, S.C. – With four players reaching double-figure kills, the No. 2 seeded Anderson University volleyball team opened the South Atlantic Conference Tournament with a 3-1 (25-18, 26-24, 21-25, 25-17) win over No. 7 seeded Tuesday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson (27-4) defeated the Lions for the third time this season and advanced to the tourney semifinals, where the Trojans will face third-seeded Lincoln Memorial. Mars Hill fell to 16-13 and saw its season come to a close with back-to-back losses.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Freshman Liliana Kinder led all players with a career-high 16 kills and added five digs, with redshirt sophomore Hailee Wilhelm notching 13 kills. Sophomore Regan Duty posted 12 kills, while senior Jayln Knight recorded her 14th double-double of the season with 11 kills and 23 digs. Junior Emily Conlin notched her 20th double-double of the campaign with 47 assists and 25 digs, with freshman Meghan DeVaux sharing team-high honors with 25 digs. Senior Megan Embry recorded 19 digs, while classmate Emily Conard notched 15 digs and a season-high four service aces.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The opening frame was tied seven times before Duty knocked down her second kill of the set to snap an 11-11 deadlock and give AU a 12-11 edge.
Later holding a three-point, 17-14, advantage, Wilhelm sparked a 5-1 surge that gave the Trojans control of the set and they went on for the seven-point win.
The second set saw just three ties and a pair of lead changes, as the Trojans claimed an early, 9-4, lead and steadily built an eight-point lead on two occasions.
After the Trojans claimed a 19-11 advantage, Mars Hill countered with a 9-2 scoring outburst that saw the Lions cut AU's lead to just 21-20. Duty slowed the Lions with back-to-back kills and Conard followed with an ace to put the Black and Gold on the cusp of their second straight win.
But MHU held off set point four times and evened the score at 24 apiece before Knight posted two consecutive kills to close out the set.
The largest lead by either squad was four points in the third set.
A kill from Kinder broke an 8-8 deadlock and AU pushed out to a slim, 11-8, lead before the Lions chipped away and knotted the score at 15 apiece. Mars Hill went on to claim a four-point advantage (20-16) before AU rallied behind Wilhelm and took a narrow, 21-20, lead.
But it was the Trojans' last lead, as Mars Hill responded with five unanswered points to take the set.
The final set was tied just once and the Trojans never trailed after jumping out to a quick 9-4 lead. Mars Hill trimmed AU's lead to just 10-9 but the Black and Gold rebuilt a five-point edge on five occasions before pushing out to the late margin.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE NIGHT
Senior Emily Conard notched a season-high four aces on the night.
• The Trojans are making their seventh consecutive appearance in the SAC Tournament and have advanced to the semifinals for the second straight year and fourth time overall.
• Wilhelm has averaged more than 15 kills per match over the last seven matches, while reaching a season-high 20 kills in two of those contests.
• Senior Jayln Knight has averaged more than 10 kills and nearly 18 digs over the last six outings.
• Sophomore Regan Duty has reached double-figure kills in four of the last six matches.
• Conlin has notched eight straight double-doubles.
• Freshman Liliana Kinder has averaged more than 10 kills per match over the last seven outings.
• Freshman Meghan DeVaux has averaged 19.8 digs per match over the last six matches.
• Senior Emily Conard has reached double-digit digs in eight straight matches and averaged nearly 13 digs per match during that span.
The Trojans will square off against Lincoln Memorial in the tournament semifinals, Friday at 6:30 p.m. The tourney semifinals and finals are being hosted by Coker in Hartsville, S.C.
2018 SAC Volleyball Championship:
Tuesday, Nov. 6 (at highest seeds)
Game 1: #1 Wingate 3, #8 Catawba 0
Game 2: #4 Carson-Newman 3, #5 Lenoir-Rhyne 0
Game 3: #2 Anderson 3, #7 Mars Hill 1
Game 4: #3 Lincoln Memorial 3, #6 Queens 0
Friday, Nov. 9 (at Coker College)
Game 5: #1 Wingate vs. #4 Carson-Newman, 4:00pm
Game 6: #2 Anderson vs. #3 Lincoln Memorial, 6:30pm
Saturday, Nov. 10 (at Coker College)
Game 7: winner game 5 vs. winner game 6, 2:00pm
SAC TOURNAMENT INDIVIDUAL DAILY TICKETS:
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