Volleyball Opens Home Slate on FridaySeptember 19, 2013
ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson volleyball team opens its home slate this weekend, as conference-foe Lincoln Memorial invades the Abney Athletic Center for the Trojans’ home opener Friday night, while AU plays host to Carson-Newman Saturday afternoon.
AU is 1-5 overall and 1-1 in the league after splitting last weekend’s South Atlantic Conference road contests at Coker and nationally-ranked Wingate.
Offensively, junior Hailey Pittman led the Trojans with 28 kills in the two matches, while posting a team-best .328 attack percentage. The native of Orlando, Fla. added five digs and three total blocks on the weekend. Second-team Preseason All-SAC selection Shannon Gillespie tallied 27 kills and 17 digs, with redshirt freshman Priscilla Irizarry chipping in 10 kills. Meghan Cautero handed out 65 assists – more than eight per set, while junior Alix Hooker led a balanced defensive effort with 27 digs. Gillespie also collected 17 assists.
Gillespie currently ranks fifth in the South Atlantic Conference in kills, averaging 3.29 kills per set, while Cautero’s 8.00 assists per set is good enough to rank fifth in the league. Hooker is eighth in the SAC with 3.62 digs per set and Pittman is 13th in hitting percentage (.253) on the season.
The Lady Railsplitters
LMU is looking to make its sixth consecutive NCAA Southeast Regional appearance this fall, with Lady Railsplitters’ Head Coach Jenny Michael’s squad playing 12 of its first 14 matches on the road after notching a 21-14 mark in 2012. LMU finished third in the SAC regular-season standings last season and was predicted to finish third this season, as well, behind Wingate and Tusculum.
Lincoln Memorial is 5-4 overall and 1-0 in the league on the season and is coming off a five set, 3-2 (17-25, 23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 22-20) win past the host Pacers in the USC-Aiken Classic last weekend that saw the Lady Railsplitters rally from two sets down to take the win. LMU has dropped two of its last three decisions, while splitting four matches at the Classic. Brooke Fleeman, Kendra Gephart and Kaitlin Walton each recorded 15 kills in the win past the Pacers. Gephart added 17 digs to record one of the Lady Railsplitters' three double-double efforts and Walton finished with six digs.
The Series vs. Lincoln Memorial
The Trojans and Lady Railsplitters have met 11 times over the last 11 seasons, including seven meetings since AU joined the South Atlantic Conference for the 2010 campaign. LMU holds a 10-1 advantage in the overall series between the two schools, with Anderson dropping nine consecutive decisions to the Lady Railsplitters. The Trojans are looking for their first win past LMU since claiming a 3-2 home win on Sept. 23, 2008.
The last meeting between the two teams occurred on Oct. 19, 2012, with the Lady Railsplitters taking a 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-19) decision in Harrogate, Tenn. Gillespie corded her 11th double-double of the season with a team-high 11 digs and 10 kills and Pittman added nine kills, while Cautero recorded a team-high 25 assists and shared match-high block honors with three. Hooker notched eight digs.
The Eagles narrowly missed the conference tournament last season, while recording an 11-16 overall mark a year ago and were selected ninth in this year’s Preseason SAC Coaches Poll, just ahead of the Trojans. Carson-Newman (6-3, 1-1 SAC) has won four of its last five outings, including three straight after blanking Mars Hill last Wednesday night.
Junior outside hitter Rachel Harper tallied eight kills to go along with seven digs in the win over the Lions. Junior setter Kristen Pickett added 13 assists with two digs and a pair of kills. Pickett was named to the King University Invitational All-Tournament team last weekend. The Cleveland, Tenn. native tallied 125 assists in four matches for an average of 7.81 per set. Pickett also notched eight kills, 24 digs and three block assists over the weekend.
The Series vs. Carson-Newman
The Trojans and Eagles have met just eight times over the past 16 seasons, with six of the matchups occurring since AU joined the league in 2010. Carson-Newman holds a 5-3 edge in the overall series that began in 2008 after winning the first four meetings with the Trojans. But Anderson has won three of its last four matchups versus the Eagles, including a sweep of last season’s regular-season series that saw the Trojans blank C-N, 3-0, on both occasions.
The two teams last met on Oct. 20, 2012, with AU using a balanced offensive attack to sweep Carson-Newman, 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-19) in Jefferson City, Tenn. Gillespie recorded her third straight double-double with a match-high 15 kills, while adding 11 digs. Kelley Lacey added nine digs to go along with her eight kills, while hitting a match-best .383 and Pittman tallied eight kills on the afternoon. Cautero dished out 37 kills and Hooker chipped in a team-high 17 digs.