ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson volleyball team is riding a two-match win streak and looks to claim its third consecutive victory and fourth in its last five outings, as the Trojans visit Brevard in South Atlantic Conference action Friday night at Boshamer Gymnasium.
AU is 3-5 overall and 3-1 on the strength of its win streak, and with the strong showing early in the conference slate, the Trojans are off to their best start in SAC play since also posting a 3-1 mark during their inaugural season in the league in 2010. Anderson is coming off a weekend sweep of conference opponents, rallying for a thrilling five-set, 3-2, win past Lincoln Memorial last Friday night, then blanked Carson-Newman, 3-0, Saturday afternoon.
On the strength of her stellar back-to-back performances, middle blocker Hailey Pittman was named the SAC Player of the Week this past Monday. The 5-foot-11 junior recorded 34 kills (4.25 k/s) and committed just four attack errors for an impressive .417 attack percentage on the weekend as the Trojans moved into a tie for second place in the league. The junior from Orlando, Fla. added 10 digs, seven total blocks and tallied a career-high 24 kills as AU snapped a nine-match skid at the hands of LMU.
Junior outside hitter Shannon Gillespie tallied 38 kills and 25 digs on the weekend, with junior Kelley Lacey and redshirt freshman Tinsley Hallman each adding 12 total kills in the two matches. Junior Meghan Cautero dished out 88 assists (11.00 a/s) and notched 21 digs, with junior Alix Hooker coming up with 40 digs defensively.
Gillespie has moved into third place in the conference, averaging 3.66 kills per set, while Cautero ranks fourth in assists per set at 8.75. Hooker ranks seventh in the league with 3.97 digs per set and is eighth in the SAC with 3.62 digs per set and Pittman is ninth in hitting percentage (.301) on the season.
Brevard posted an overall record of 11-18 and a 1-16 slate in the league, with the lone win a 3-1 home victory coming at the expense of the Trojans in mid-September. First-year head coach Kelly Burdeau’s squad is 3-6 overall and 0-5 in conference action this season and has dropped five straight decisions since opening the campaign by winning three of its first four matches. The Tornados are 1-2 at Boshamer Gymnasium after defeating Virginia-Wise, 3-1, in their season opener.
Brevard is coming off a 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-18, and 25-16) loss at home to SAC opponent Newberry last Tuesday night. The Tornados claimed the opening set, but saw the Wolves rally for the win. Senior Erin Rollins paced BC with nine kills, while Megan Clark and Fatima Gharachorloo combined for 15 kills for the Tornados. Freshman Aleksandra Vrvilo added a game-high 17 digs defensively for BC.
The Series vs. Brevard
Despite being separated by less than 70 miles, the Trojans and Tornados have met just seven times over the past 16 seasons, including the inaugural matchup during the 2006 campaign, with Anderson claiming a 3-1 win in that contest. AU and Brevard have met six times over the last three seasons as members of the South Atlantic Conference, with the Trojans holding a 5-1 advantage in the SAC series between the two schools. Anderson had claimed five consecutive victories in the overall series before the Tornados upended AU in last season’s first meeting.
The last contest between the two squads saw Anderson use a balanced attack to sweep Brevard, 3-0 (25-16, 27-25, 25-15) at the Abney Athletic Center. Pittman led the Trojans offensively with 11 kills, while Gillespie added nine kills and narrowly missed a double-double with 16 digs. Cautero shared match-high honors with 30 assists and completed a double-double with 11 digs. Defensively, Hooker recorded 15 digs.