ANDERSON, S.C. – On the heels of its mid-week sweep of Newberry, the Anderson volleyball team travels to South Atlantic Conference newcomer Queens and Catawba this weekend looking to build momentum and move up in the league standings.
Anderson (6-7, 5-3 SAC) visits Queens on Friday in just the second meeting between the two squads since the 2009 season. The Trojans enter the weekend tied for fifth in the conference with Lenoir-Rhyne and are in search of their sixth victory in their last eight outings after posting sweeps in their last four wins.
AU is 2-2 in true road contests this season, having defeated league foes Coker and Brevard, while falling at Florida Southern and No. 16 Wingate. The Trojans knocked off Newberry, 3-0, last Tuesday night at the Abney Athletic Center on the strength of a season-best hitting percentage. Shannon Gillespie led all players with 17 kills, while adding 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the season. Redshirt freshman Tinsley Hallman added 12 kills and committed just two errors in 24 attempts for a .417 attack percentage. Freshman Priscilla Irizarry handing out a match-high 31 assists and Alix Hooker recorded a team-best 13 digs.
Gillespie is second in the SAC, averaging 3.88 kills per set, while Hooker ranks fourth with her 4.64 digs per set average. Pittman continues to rank among the league leaders in hitting accuracy, checking in at No. 10 with a .281 attack percentage and freshman Jessica Harris is 14th with 33 blocks.
Queens is one of the SAC’s two newest members, along with Coker. In their final campaign as a member of Conference Carolinas, the Royals captured the regular-season title, but fell to Belmont Abbey in the finals of the Conference Carolinas Tournament, completing last season with a 23-11 overall record, and a 13-2 finish in the league.
The Royals were a preseason selection to finish seventh in their first season in the South Atlantic Conference, with senior outside hitter Keri Kemp earning Second-Team All-SAC honors. The Lake Mary, Fla. native led the Royals with 358 kills her junior year.
Queens is 4-7 overall on the season and 4-5 in the conference and has won two straight, while posting a 2-1 mark in its Levine Center for Wellness and Recreation. The Royals swept Catawba, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-11) last Tuesday night on the strength of 11 service aces. Kemp recorded 13 kills and Taylor Riley tallied 30 assists. Defensively, Erin Mooney paced Queens with nine digs, and Brittney Barren recorded three total blocks.
The Series vs. Queens
The Trojans are 19-7 versus Queens over the past 15 seasons and have won 16 of the last 18 meetings. AU will be looking to avenge a 3-0 home setback suffered last season at the hands of the Royals, when Gillespie and Pittman each recorded 10 kills to lead the Trojans. Hooker shared game-high honors with 17 digs and Kelley Lacey posted a season-high 12 digs. Meghan Cautero dished out 34 assists. Prior to the loss, the Trojans had won 11 straight past Queens dating back to the 2003 campaign.
The Lady Indians
Catawba was picked sixth in the 2013 SAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll after finishing sixth in the league last season. The Lady Indians fell to third-seeded Lincoln Memorial in the first round of the 2012 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament and finished with an overall record of 12-15 and a 9-9 mark in the conference.
The Lady Indians returned six players that saw considerable action last season, including Rachel Gallup, a SAC All-Freshman team pick last season. But Catawba lost six seniors from a year ago, including all-conference selections Jordan Raye, Kaitlyn Whitmer and Jenny Young.
Catawba (2-9, 2-7 SAC) is coming off the 3-0 setback to Queens last Tuesday night, as Haley Lanier tallied a team-high six kills on the night, with Bri Howard and Audrey Hoffman each adding three kills. Erin Morant recorded three blocks.
The Series vs. Catawba
The Trojans and Indians have met just six times, all as members of the South Atlantic Conference. The overall series is even at three apiece, with AU claiming a pair of five-set wins last season. Catawba swept both meetings during the 2011 campaign and the teams split the regular-season matchups during Anderson’s inaugural season in the league in 2010.
The last meeting between the two teams saw Anderson rally to claim a 3-2 win (12-25, 26-24, 17-25, 26-24, 15-13) as the Trojans won the final six points of the final set at Goodman Gym. The loss spoiled a career-high 28 kills by Catawba's Whitmer, who added 21 digs. AU’s Gillespie and Pittman led Anderson with 21 kills apiece. Gillespie added 13 digs, while Cautero handed out 53 assists. Hooker collected 18 digs