HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Paced by junior Shannon Gillespie’s match-high 18 kills and a season-best .263 team hitting percentage, the Anderson volleyball team earned its first win of the young season by defeating Coker 3-1 (25-13, 25-27, 27-25, 25-13) in South Atlantic Conference action Friday night at TimberlakeLawton Gym.
The conference opener for both teams saw Anderson improve to 1-4 overall and 1-0 in the league, while Coker slipped to 3-4 overall and 0-1 in the SAC.
With the victory, Anderson claimed its seventh consecutive decision past Coker and improved to 20-7 in the overall series with the Cobras.
“The team did a great job coming back tonight,” said Anderson head coach Craig Mosqueda. “We allowed our mistakes to take us out of our game and it took two sets to get back into rhythm. Offensively, we did well but we definitely need to pick it up on defense.”
The Trojans jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the opening set and opened a double-digit lead at 20-10, before Coker responded with three consecutive points to pull within seven. But AU countered by scoring five unanswered points to claim the set.
The second frame featured 14 ties and seven lead changes before Coker’s Loren Hill snapped the final 25-25 tie with one of her eight kills on the night, and the Cobras went on to take the narrow set victory. Coker scored the first three points of the set and the Trojans were unable to garner a lead until freshman Jessica Harris posted a kill to give Anderson a brief 7-6 advantage. Coker regained the edge and AU would not lead again until Gillespie’s kill gave the Trojans an 18-17 lead. Coker quickly regained a 19-18 edge, but Anderson rattled off three straight points to take a 21-19 lead and held a 24-23 edge. The Cobras held off set point with a pair of points, then AU returned the favor to knot the score at 25 apiece, but Coker’s Hill knocked down a kill and Mindy Morris closed the set with an ace.
After falling behind by as many as six on two occasions in the third set, the Trojans battled back to take the win. AU jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, but Coker scored five unanswered points to take a 6-3 advantage of its own. Anderson countered with a 6-3 run of its own to knot the score at nine apiece before the Cobras snapped the deadlock with a 7-1 run to take a lead they would not surrender. Trailing, 19-13, the Trojans climbed back within one on two occasions before a Gillespie kill evened the score and Alix Hooker’s service ace gave AU a brief 23-22 edge. Coker pushed back to claim a 24-23 lead and with the score tied at 25-25, AU capitalized on a pair of Coker errors to win the set.
Anderson never trailed in the fourth and final set, building a quick 8-2 cushion and pushing out by as many as 13 en route to the victory.
Gillespie nearly notched her third double-double of the season by adding nine digs, while middle blocker Hailey Pittman tallied 12 kills and redshirt freshman Priscilla Irizarry notched six kills. Junior Meghan Cautero handed out a match-best 33 assists and added a pair of service aces, while Hooker collected 12 digs.
Anderson wraps up its’ season-opening six-match road swing at seven-time defending league champion Wingate Saturday. First-serve versus the Bulldogs is slated for 5 p.m.