ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team will wrap up its home schedule this weekend with a pair of South Atlantic Conference matchups, as the Trojans will celebrate Senior Night by playing host to Catawba, Friday night and follow up with a Saturday afternoon contest against Queens.
First-serve versus the Indians at the Abney Athletic Center is slated for 7 p.m., with the matchup against the Royals on the Annie Tribble hardwood slated for 5 p.m.
Anderson (19-4, 15-3 SAC), has won seven of its last eight decisions and is tied for second place in the SAC standings, alongside Queens, with both teams trailing Wingate by two games with four games remaining on the regular-season schedule.
A trio of seniors, Kathryn Hughes, Hailee Wilhelm and Emily Conlin, will be making their final regular-season appearances at the Abney Center. The three veterans have helped lead the Black and Gold to 94 victories during their careers, four South Atlantic Conference Tournament appearances - including the 2017 Regular Season Championship - and three NCAA Tournament appearances, so far.
The Indians, who posted a 10-22 overall record a year ago, including a 6-14 mark and an eighth-place finish in South Atlantic Conference action, were a preseason pick to finish tied for eighth, alongside Tusculum, in the 2019 South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Catawba (6-16, 4-14 SAC) snapped a six-game skid by knocking off Chowan in four sets in nonconference action two nights ago in Murfreesboro, N.C.
Kylie Morgan, who posted 196 kills as a freshman last season for the Indians, including a team-best 2.33 per set, is currently third in the league with 3.40 kills per set. Middle hitter Allie Grubb, a senior, posted a team-high 230 kills and 63 blocks a season ago, while senior setter Morgan Hester averaged nine assists per set last season.
The Series vs. the Indians
The Trojans and Indians have met just 19 times, all as members of the South Atlantic Conference. AU holds a 14-5 advantage in the overall series and has won 13 of the last 15 meetings, including six straight.
The teams split the regular-season matchups during Anderson's inaugural season in the league in 2010, with the Trojans winning seven straight over Catawba before the Lady Indians blanked AU in the second regular-season matchup in Salisbury during the 2015 campaign. Anderson had swept the regular-season matchups from 2012-14 after Catawba swept both meetings during the 2011 season.
The Trojans knocked off Catawba in four sets earlier this season in Salisbury, N.C. Sophomore middle hitter Noelle Knutsen led the Trojans with 13 kills behind an impressive .550 hitting percentage. Fellow sophomore Maya Learmonth added 12 kills, while Wilhelm tallied 11 kills on the strength of a .370 hitting percentage and posted a three service aces.
Junior right-side hitter Regan Duty notched 11 kills and four block assists, while junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Grube chipped in seven kills with no errors on the night for a .700 hitting accuracy. Conlin recorded a double-double by handing out 48 assists and coming up with 15 digs. Freshman Lindsay McCurley recorded 23 digs.
The Royals, who posted a 14-15 overall record a year ago, including a 10-10 mark in league action, were a preseason pick to finish fifth in the 2019 SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Queens (18-5, 15-3 SAC) has won three straight and six of its last seven contests, with its only league losses coming to Wingate – twice - and Tusculum.
The junior trio of Casey Tarvin, Logan Witt and JayCee Jones captured Preseason All-SAC honors. Tarvin, a 2018 First-Team All-Region and All-Conference Selection, finished second in the league last year with 3.70 kills per set, while registering a league-best 392 kills and adding 4.34 digs per set on the year. The Leander, Texas native notched 17 double-doubles on the season, while topping the 20-kill mark four times.
Witt was an Honorable Mention All-Conference honoree last season after finishing the 2018 season among the SAC's top offensive players with 294 total kills. The Moseley, Va. native led the Royals with 71 total blocks and had 16 matches with double-digit kills. Jones led the NCAA by averaging 22.07 digs per set. The Littleton, Colo., native recorded a career-high 40 digs in the regular-season finale against the Trojans.
Tarvin is currently second in the league in both kills (270) and kills per set (3.55/set). Witt ranks fourth in the SAC with her .352 hitting percentage, while Jones is fifth in the league with 4.79 digs per set. Senior setter Mallory Swarts is second behind Conlin in the conference standings with 9.85 assists per set and is tied for fifth – just behind AU's Meghan DeVaux - with 35 service aces on the season.
The Series vs. the Royals
The Trojans are 27-13 versus Queens over the past 20 seasons and have won 24 of the last 31 meetings, including five of the last eight matchups. The two teams have met just 14 times since 2009, when both were members of Conference Carolinas, with Queens joining the SAC in 2013.
The two teams split last season's regular-season matchups, with each squad defending its home court. AU knocked off the Royals, 3-1 (25-22, 25-15, 20-25, 25-21) in early October at the Abney Center, with Queens avenging the loss by outlasting the Trojans in five sets a month later in Charlotte, N.C.
Queens held off the Trojans in five sets earlier this season in Charlotte, with Wilhelm leading the Trojans with 16 kills. Knutsen posted 12 kills on the strength of a .346 hitting percentage and also notched three block assists. Junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Grube equaled a season-high with 11 kills, while recording five digs and three block assists. Learmonth and Duty each tallied 10 kills apiece.
Conlin posted another double-double, with 51 assists and 21 digs, with McCurley notching a season-high 28 digs on the afternoon. Freshman defensive specialist Alexandra Petrilli tallied 16 digs in the setback.
The Trojans defeated Queens, 3-1, in the 2017 season's first regular-season matchup in Charlotte, in a victory that ignited AU's school-record 22-match win streak, then swept the Royals at the Abney Center in mid-October and again in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Southeast Region Tournament in St. Augustine, Fla.