ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson volleyball team offset solid defense by Lenoir-Rhyne with a stout defensive effort of its own, as the Trojans marked the midway point of its South Atlantic Conference schedule by shutting out the Bears, 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-19) Wednesday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
"I am very proud of how we played tonight," said Anderson head coach Todd Hay. "I'm especially proud of how steady we were. This ream is beginning to believe in the process. We talk during timeouts about accepting the challenge and we are doing that. Lenoir-Rhyne didn't necessarily get a lot of blocks, but they altered a lot of shots and we hadn't faced that yet."
Anderson (15-3, 9-1 SAC) won its 10th straight decision and evened the all-time record with Lenoir-Rhyne at nine apiece with its third straight win over the Bears. Lenoir-Rhyne slipped to 7-8 overall and 4-6 in the league with its sixth consecutive loss.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Senior outside hitter Marissa Mitter led all players with 13 kills and added eight digs, with sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Hughes posting 11 kills behind a .391 hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Rachel Burts added nine kills and fellow senior Serena Jackson notched eight kills. Sophomore setter Emily Conlin narrowly missed her 12th double-double of the season, with 41 assists and nine digs. Junior outside hitter Jayln Knight and junior libero Emily Conard shared match-high honors with 14 digs apiece.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Hughes led the Trojans with five kills in the opening set and did not commit an error in six attempts for an impressive .833 hitting percentage, while Mitter added four kills.
The Trojans opened the frame with two straight points before L-R countered with three straight to gain an early advantage. With the score knotted for the fourth time, at five apiece, AU capitalized on a service error to post three straight points and held the lead until the Bears battled back to even the score at 9-9.
Another service error from L-R sparked 10 unanswered points by the Trojans, with Conlin fueling the outburst with a pair of aces and the duo of Mitter and Jackson combining for four kills, as AU opened a double-digit cushion.
The Bears responded with four straight points to climb within five, but would get no closer, as Conlin notched her lone kill of the frame to snap the run and the Trojans went on for the eight-point win.
The Trojans grabbed an early advantage and turned away L-R's attempts to catch up, as AU jumped out to a quick 5-1 edge. The Black and Gold steadily built their largest lead of the set, at 16-9, before the Bears crept back into it with four straight points.
Mitter slowed the rally with her fourth kill of the frame, but L-R continued the surge and pulled within 19-18 before Knight gave AU a two-point lead and AU claimed the win by scoring six of the final seven points.
A late surge powered AU's rally, as the Trojans overcame a three-point deficit for the win.
Lenoir-Rhyne scored the first three points of the set, while the Trojans answered with three straight points of their own to knot the score for the first of five times. With the score deadlocked at five apiece, Burts posted the first of five kills during the set to give the Trojans their first lead. But it was brief, as the Bears responded with a 6-1 run and held the lead until AU evened the score at 16-16.
With Jackson serving, the Trojans rattled off six straight points to take control of the set.
• AU improved to 5-0 at home on the season and extended its home win streak to nine matches dating back to last season.
• Eight of the Trojans' wins during the win streak have been three-set affairs.
• Hughes has recorded a .394 hitting percentage over the last three contests.
• The Trojans have surpassed the '02 team for the second-longest win streak in school history. The 2004 volleyball team squad reeled off 11 straight wins.
• Nine of the 17 contests between AU and Lenoir-Rhyne have gone the full five-set distance.
• Mitter continues to climb the AU record books. She has 1,080 career kills and has passed Michelle Yarborough (1999-2002) for ninth place in the school record books.
• Burts is 13th in the AU record books with 168 career blocks and needs 10 to surpass former standout Betsy Fisher (2000-04) for 12th place in the school record books.
• Jackson has 183 career blocks and needs 39 total blocks to overtake Ashley Prince (2006-08) for 10th place.
Anderson will get back on the court Saturday, when Catawba invades the Abney Center for a 2 p.m. first-serve.