ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson volleyball team overcame a slow start to open a brief two-match homestand by outpacing Coker, 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 25-9, 25-9) in South Atlantic Conference action Friday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
“We definitely picked it up after getting off to a slow start,” said Anderson head coach Craig Mosqueda. “Of all our players, Shannon (Gillespie) came out strong and aggressive. Our blocking was solid, especially in the third and fourth sets. We also played better defense. Priscilla (Irizarry) really fed our hitters from the setter position.”
Anderson (9-7, 8-3 SAC) equaled its longest win streak of the season with its fourth consecutive victory and swept the season series with Coker (3-17, 0-12 SAC), which suffered its 15th consecutive setback.
The Cobras opened the first set on a strong note by snapping an early 4-4 tie with a 6-1 outburst to take their largest lead of the frame, at 10-5. Coker equaled the five-point advantage shortly thereafter, before AU used a 6-2 run to climb within one. The Cobras answered again to gain a brief 18-13 edge, only to see the Trojans rally to knot the set again at 19-19, but AU was unable to overtake the visitors, as Coker scored six of the final eight points to earn the win.
The second set featured 10 ties and five lead changes before the Trojans took advantage of a Coker miscue to snap a 19-19 tie, as AU went on to post the final six points of the frame for the win. Junior Alix Hooker wrapped up the set with three consecutive service aces.
Behind the strong serving of sophomore Sarah Kivett, the Trojans jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in the third set and never trailed en route to building a double-digit lead at 15-5 on a kill by redshirt freshman Tinsley Hallman. AU closed the frame on the strength of a 10-4 surge, with Hallman and junior Hailey Pittman notching two kills apiece.
The Anderson offense committed just two errors in the fourth set and built a 14-4 cushion to take control of the frame. The Trojans pushed out to a 15-point lead on two occasions before claiming the set.
Hooker, who finished with 13 digs on the night, moved into10th place all-time in AU’s record books with 1,134 career digs, eclipsing former standout Melissa Nodine (1997-99). The reigning SAC Player of the Week, Shannon Gillespie, recorded her seventh straight double-double and 11th of the season with a match-high 15 kills and 14 digs.
Pittman tallied 12 kills and four total blocks, while posting a career-high .647 hitting percentage. The native of Orlando, Fla., committed just one error in 17 attempts on the night. Redshirt freshman Priscilla Irizarry handed out a match-best 29 assists, while freshman Jessica Harris added five blocks. Hallman chipped in seven kills and three blocks.
Anderson plays host to league-leading Wingate on Homecoming Saturday afternoon. First-serve versus the Bulldogs is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Abney Center.