ANDERSON, S.C. – Errors proved costly to the Anderson volleyball team, as the Trojans opened a three-match homestand with a 3-1 (25-20, 19-25, 20-25, 18-25) setback to Lander in nonconference action Tuesday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
Anderson (10-11) committed a season-high 35 errors and posted a season-low .074 hitting percentage, while suffering its fourth loss in the last five outings. Lander improved to 16-8 with its fourth straight victory.
“Lander played well,” said Anderson head coach Craig Mosqueda. “They played incredible defense.”
The Trojans scored the first three points of the opening set, which featured five early ties, and AU never trailed throughout the frame. A pair of runs lifted the Trojans to the first-set win, as they snapped an 8-8 deadlock with a 6-2 surge and never relinquished the lead. The Bearcats climbed within 17-14, but it was as close as they would get, as AU responded with a 5-2 run to take a seven-point advantage, at 22-15, which matched their largest lead of the set. Lander pulled within three, at 22-19, with four unanswered points, but the Trojans’ Shannon Gillespie and Hailey Pittman recorded a kill and a service to close the set.
It was the visitor’s turn in the second frame, as the Bearcats posted the first three points and never trailed. With the score knotted at 3-3, the Bearcats reeled off seven straight points. Anderson chipped away and evened the score at 12-12, but LU countered with five consecutive points to hold off the rally. Pittman’s kill brought AU within 19-17, but Lander claimed the set by scoring six of the final eight points.
The largest lead by either team in the third set was five, with the Bearcats using a 7-2 run to take a 14-9 lead and the Trojans were unable to recover. Freshman Priscilla Irizarry knocked down a kill to pull AU within 20-18, but Lander took advantage of two kills and a pair of Trojan mistakes to take the set.
With the Trojans trailing, 10-9, in the fourth set, Lander went on a 12-4 run to take a nine-point lead late in the frame and AU was unable to get closer than six in the final moments.
Gillespie, who notched her 16th double-double of the season with 16 kills and 18 digs, moved into sole possession of ninth place in the school’s all-time record books for career kills and needs just eight to become just the ninth player in school history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau.
Pittman added her third-straight double-figure kill effort with 12 and also added six digs. Junior Meghan Cautero recorded her third consecutive double-double and seventh of the season, tallying 39 assists and 13 digs. Irizarry added 17 digs and eight kills, while junior Alix Hooker came up with 34 digs.
Anderson gets back into South Atlantic Conference action on Friday, when Lenoir-Rhyne invades the Abney Center for a 7 p.m. first-serve.