Pioneers fall 3-0 at defending SAC Champions

Pioneers fall 3-0 at defending SAC Champions

ANDERSON, S.C. --- Anderson University's Emily Conlin recorded 33 assists, nine digs and two service aces to pace the Trojans to a three-set sweep over visiting Tusculum University Friday night at the Abney Athletic Center.

Anderson (15-1, 5-0 South Atlantic Conference) won the match by scores of 25-14, 25-16, 25-21 to secure AU's 10th consecutive win. The Pioneers (2-7, 0-3 SAC) return to action on Saturday for a 5 p.m. league tilt at Newberry College.

The Trojans posted a .216 hitting percentage as AU totaled 38 kills to go along with eight service aces and seven team blocks in the victory.  Tusculum had a .029 attack percentage as the Black and Orange recorded 24 kills with 21 hitting errors on 102 attempts.

AU's Kaitlyn Grube finished with eight kills, while Regan Duty added six kills and a .429 hitting percentage.  The Anderson trio of Jalyn Knight, Hailee Wilhelm and Kathryn Hughes each had five kills in the win.

For Tusculum, Gabby Gray led the way with eight kills and three digs.  Carli Pigza posted five kills, while setter Alyssa Rojas dished out 17 assists and five digs.

In the first set, Anderson used an early 4-0 run to take a 6-3 lead following back-to-back service aces by Megan Embry and a Knight kill.  TU responded with a 4-2 spurt including two kills from Gray to cut the deficit to 8-7.  AU erupted for five straight points to spark a 10-1 run to take an 18-8 lead.  The Anderson advantage grew to 21-9 before the Pioneers gained some momentum with a 5-1 spurt to trail 22-14.  But three straight points including a Wilhelm kill on set point gave the Trojans a 25-14 decision in the opening frame.

Anderson forged ahead in the second set opening with a 12-3 run including a stretch of five straight points on two occasions early in the frame.  Trailing 16-6, the Pioneers put together a furious 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 18-13 sparked by a pair of kills from Aubrey Hawkins.  But the Trojans closed out the set with a 7-1 run to post a 25-16 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match.

AU led wire-to-wire in the third set but had to hold off a Tusculum rally down the stretch.  Anderson vaulted out to a 9-2 advantage and the home team saw their lead grow to 12-4.  But TU got off the mat and went on an 8-2 spark to trail 14-12.  With Anderson up 15-13, the Trojans scored three in a row including consecutive aces from Colin as AU lead by five again at 18-13.  The lead moved to 20-15 before Tusculum made another run at the defending SAC Champions as the Pioneers used a 5-2 run to trail 22-20 following a Gray kill.  Grube posted a kill on the next point to force a Tusculum timeout.  TU's Tatum Thornton posted a kill to make it 23-21, but another kill from Grube and a Hughes kill on match-point gave the Trojans a 25-21 decision in the third to seal the victory.

Anderson held a 53-41 advantage in digs as Tusculum libero Melissa Mazur accounted for 10 in the contest while AU's Meghan DeVaux had 14.