ANDERSON, S.C. – Anderson juniors Shannon Gillespie and Kelley Lacey each recorded their second double-doubles in as many days, but Tusculum outlasted the Trojans, 3-2 (17-25, 25-19, 16-25, 25-15, 15-13) in South Atlantic Conference volleyball action Saturday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson (5-7, 4-3 SAC) suffered its second consecutive setback, while Tusculum (10-5, 5-3 SAC) claimed its third win in its last four outings.
With junior Alix Hooker serving, the Trojans scored the first four points of the opening set with Lacey and Hailey Pittman each posting a kill. But Tusculum answered to even the score at 7-7 before AU’s Lacey snapped the third tie of the frame (10-10) with a kill, giving Anderson a lead it would not relinquish.
Redshirt freshman Priscilla Irizarry notched two of her five service aces during a run that saw AU push out to a 17-13 advantage. Tusculum’s Rachel Garnett slowed the Trojan run with a kill, but AU went on to garner an eight-point advantage late in the frame.
The Pioneers responded by taking an early 6-1 lead in the second set, with AU climbing back within one, at 15-14, on a kill by Gillespie. But the Trojans were unable to overtake Tusculum, as the Pioneers answered with a 6-2 surge to hold off the Trojans and went on to claim the six-point win.
It was Anderson’s turn in the third frame, with freshman Tinsley Hallman recording three of her match-high six service aces during an opening outburst that saw AU jump out to an 8-3 lead. The Trojans pushed out to a double-digit, 15-4 cushion behind a 7-1 run following a Tusculum timeout. Gillespie and freshman Jessica Harris teamed up for a pair of block assists during the decisive surge and the Pioneers would get no closer than six down the stretch.
The fourth set saw Tusculum race out to a quick 10-3 advantage and the Trojans were unable to recover, as TC claimed the double-digit set victory.
The Pioneers again gained an early edge in the fifth and deciding set, capitalizing on three AU errors to take a 6-3 lead. But after falling behind, 13-7, the Trojans battled back to knot the score at 13 apiece by capitalizing on three consecutive miscues by the Pioneers. But AU was unable to complete the comeback, as Tusculum notched the final two points to finish the match.
Gillespie tallied a team-high 15 kills and a career-best 26 digs for her seventh double-double of the season, while Lacey added 11 kills and 17 digs for her second straight double-double effort. Pittman notched 12 kills and committed just one error for an impressive .314 hitting percentage. Despite suffering an injury early in the match, Meghan Cautero dished out 27 assists while seeing action in all five sets. Irizarry handed out 15 assists and Hooker came up with a match-high 37 digs.
The Pioneers’ Garnett lead all players with 19 kills on the strength of a .390 hitting percentage, while sophomore Hannah Berling tallied 47 assists and senior Caitlyn Dean recorded 29 digs.
The Trojans will look to get back in the win column when they wrap up their homestand by playing host to South Atlantic Conference opponent Newberry on Tuesday. First-serve versus the Wolves is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Abney Center.