MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Senior Marissa Mitter and junior Jayln Knight combined for 23 kills, as the Anderson University volleyball team opened the season with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-16) win over Emmanuel in the Georgia College Bobcat Classic, Friday afternoon at the Centennial Center.
"It was good to get the first win of the season but we were shaky with our first contact." said Anderson head coach Todd Hay. "However, when we got in system and Connie had options, our hitters took care of the rest."
Anderson (1-0) improved to 1-1 all-time against Emmanuel, while avenging a loss to the Lions in last season's Francis Marion Invitational. Emmanuel dropped to 0-2 on the early season after falling, 3-0, to the host Bobcats earlier Friday afternoon.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Mitter posted a match-high 12 kills and narrowly missed a double-double with nine digs. The native of Redondo Beach, Calif., added three block assists on the afternoon. Knight recorded a double-double, with 11 kills on the strength of a .360 attack percentage and chipped in a match-best 17 digs. Senior middle blocker Rachel Burts notched seven kills while hitting .375 and senior Serena Jackson tallied six kills. Sophomore setter Emily Conlin dished out 37 assists and came up with 12 digs for a double-double, while adding a pair of aces and three total blocks. Junior libero Emily Conard recorded a dozen digs in the win.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans posted an impressive .318 attack percentage in the opening frame while scoring the first four points of the set and pushing out to a 14-6 lead. Emmanuel trimmed the lead to just 17-14, but AU answered with two straight points on a kill by sophomore Kathryn Hughes and an ace from junior Megan Embry as part of an 8-1 scoring outburst to close the set.
The Trojans nearly stumbled in the second frame, but escaped with the win on the strength of a late rally. The set featured 13 ties and neither team was able to build more than a five-point advantage.
With AU holding an early 8-6 lead, the Lions scored three unanswered points to take their first lead of the afternoon. After the Trojans battled back to claim a 14-13 advantage, the Black and Gold capitalized on a kill from Mitter and three errors by the Lions to take their largest lead, at 18-13.
But Emmanuel countered with a 9-2 run to stake a 22-20 lead before the Trojans rallied to win the set behind a 5-1 surge. Burts started the rally with a kill, while Hughes added a kill and Burts followed with another score.
"I was proud of the team effort when we fell behind but found a way to battle back." added Hay. "Rachel and Emily connected on an excellent play out of our timeout and it helped propel us to the win."
The Trojans took advantage of back-to-back errors by Emmanuel to claim the two-point win.
Leading 5-4, the Trojans rattled off an 11-2 scoring run to build a double-digit 16-6 lead and never looked back.
• Head Coach Todd Hay earned his first win in his debut at the helm of the Trojan program.
• The Trojans are now 6-2 in their last eight season openers.
• AU has won five straight season openers.
The Trojans are slated to square off against Lees-McRae and the host Bobcats Saturday at the Centennial Center. First-serve versus LMC is set for 11 a.m.