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Trojans Fall to Top-Seeded Wingate

Box Score

BREVARD, N.C. – Anderson saw four players reach double figures, but paced by second-team all-conference selection Shelly Stumpff’s 17 kills, top-seeded Wingate got past No. 8 seed Anderson, 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 25-27, 25-15) in the opening match of the 2012 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Tournament Friday afternoon at Brevard College’s Boshamer Gym.   

Anderson concludes its season with a 13-17 overall mark, while Wingate, the six-time defending tourney champion, improved to 27-2 on the season with its 18th consecutive victory.

Senior middle blocker Tiffany Rowe wrapped up her career with a flourish, leading the Trojans with a season-high 13 kills and recorded four block assists on the afternoon. She concluded her stellar collegiate career ranking second in the Trojan record books with 379 total blocks, 218 block assists and 161 solo blocks.

Sophomore second-team All-SAC selection Shannon Gillespie added 12 kills and posted 19 digs, while sophomore Hailey Pittman tallied 11 kills. Sophomore Kelley Lacey chipped in 10 kills and 23 digs, while Alix Hooker posted a match-high 24 digs. Sophomore setter Meghan Cautero dished out 27 assists and Kalie Endres added 17.

The Bulldogs reeled off five consecutive points to snap an early 3-3 tie to take an 8-3 lead in the first set lead and force an AU timeout. The Trojans responded by scoring three straight to climb back within two, but Wingate countered with a 6-2 run to push out to a 14-8 advantage.

The Trojans refused to surrender and battled back within 15-12 by taking advantage of a pair of Bulldog errors and kills from sophomore Kelley Lacey and Gillespie. Wingate equaled its largest lead with a 21-15 edge, but the Trojans again climbed back within three at 21-18 with Gillespie and Hailey Pittman each notching a kill, with Wingate calling for a timeout. The Bulldogs came out of the break with a 3-1 run and held off the Trojans for the 25-21 set win.  

Wingate jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the second frame, before AU’s Lacey, Rowe and senior Shelby Netherton posted back-to-back-to-back kills to even the score at four apiece. Leading 7-6, the Bulldogs went on a 6-2 run to gain a 13-8 advantage before Lacey added a kill and Rowe combined with Gillespie for a block to pull Anderson within three. But it was as close as the Trojans would get, as Wingate answered with a 10-4 outburst to build a 23-14 cushion.

A kill by AU’s Kalie Endres and a pair of Bulldog errors pulled the Trojans within 23-17, but Wingate capitalized on a pair of Trojan miscues to take the set.

It was Anderson’s turn to capitalize early in the third set, as the Trojans took advantage of four consecutive Wingate errors to jump out to a quick 5-1 lead before the Bulldogs trimmed the AU lead to 7-6, as the two teams combined to commit four errors, with AU notching three.

Clinging to an 8-7 advantage, Gillespie knocked down a kill and Pittman followed with a service ace, while the Bulldogs committed a pair of errors and Rowe added a kill to give the Trojans a 13-9 lead.  

Trailing, 16-11, Wingate scored five unanswered points to even the set at 16-16, but the Trojans refused to relinquish the lead until Allison Rickher gave Wingate its first lead of the frame, at 23-22. The set featured 10 tie scores over the final moments, with the Trojans taking the set, 27-25, on back-to-back kills from Rowe and Gillespie.

Wingate never trailed in the fourth set, edging out to a 7-5 lead and claimed a five-point advantage three times before closing the set with an 8-3 run. 

The Bulldogs advance to meet the winner of the No. 4 seed Lenoir-Rhyne/No. 5 seed Newberry contest in Saturday’s semifinals.  

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