GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – With four players notching double-figure kills and junior setter Emily Conlin averaging nearly 16 assists per set, the Anderson University volleyball team opened a two-match road swing by blanking Tusculum, 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-21) in South Atlantic Conference action, Friday night at Pioneer Arena.
Anderson improved to 23-3 overall and 14-2 in league play with its second straight victory and has won seven of its last eight outings. Tusculum fell to 3-16 and 1-12 with its third straight setback.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Sophomores Regan Duty and Hailee Wilhelm each knocked down 12 kills, with Wilhelm committing just two errors in 22 swings for a .455 hitting percentage. Senior Jayln Knight recorded her 11th double-double of the campaign with 11 kills and 17 digs, while freshman Liliana Kinder added 10 kills. Redshirt freshman Hannah Worsham tallied seven kills. Conlin handed out 47 assists and came up with 13 digs for her 15th double-double of the season. Freshman Meghan DeVaux notched a team-high 18 digs, with senior Emily Conard adding 14 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The opening set featured eight ties, with neither team able to build more than a four-point lead until the Trojans claimed a late 22-18 advantage and won by the same margin.
Knight's second kill of the frame snapped the third deadlock and a kill by Wilhelm gave the Trojans an early 5-3 advantage, but Tusculum responded quickly with two straight points to even the score and five apiece. Later, with Worsham and Kinder knocking down back-to-back kills, the Black and Gold claimed another two-point edge, at 9-7. But the Pioneers countered with three straight points to take their first lead since the opening moments and their final lead of the set.
Duty snapped the Tusculum run with her first kill of the night and Knight followed with another kill to give the Trojans a lead they would not relinquish, at 11-10. Duty followed with back-to-back kills to give AU a three-point advantage and although the Pioneers trimmed the lead to just one on three occasions, including 22-21, AU took the four-point win by scoring the final three points.
The Pioneers jumped out to an early, 7-4, edge before Wilhelm sparked three unanswered points by AU to knot the score for the third time. Moments later, Kinder smashed a kill down the left side to break a 10-10 deadlock and the Trojans steadily built a 20-15 advantage – the largest lead by either team on the night.
But Tusculum countered with five straight points to knot the score at 20 apiece, before Knight fueled a late surge to propel AU to the win.
After falling behind, the Trojans erased a late two-point deficit to earn their third straight sweep past Tusculum.
The Pioneers scored the first three points of the frame, but AU took advantage of a pair of Pioneer errors and a kill by Worsham to even the score. The set featured three more ties before Wilhelm posted a kill and a solo block to give AU an 8-6 lead. The Trojans held a two-point lead four times before Tusculum reeled off a 6-1 run to claim a 15-12 edge, marking the Pioneers' first lead since 5-4.
Trailing by three, the Trojans answered with three straight points to knot the score at 15-15. But the Pioneers rebuilt a two-point lead three more times before Kinder ignited a final, 8-2, scoring outburst that saw AU turn a 19-17 deficit into the four-point win.
• The Trojans have won six straight past Tusculum and have swept the last three regular-season series with the Pioneers.
• AU has posted 14 sweeps this season.
• The Trojans are 13-3 away from home this season.
• AU has reached the 23-win plateau for the sixth time in school history and will look to become the fifth team to earn at least 24 victories in a season Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Memorial.
• Conlin's 47 assists were the most by the Glendale, Ariz., native in a three-set match this season.
Anderson will wrap up the road swing Saturday afternoon, when the Trojans visit Lincoln Memorial. First-serve versus the Lady Railsplitters is slated for 2 p.m. at Mary Mars Gymnasium.