MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Anderson University volleyball team swept a pair of decisions Saturday at the Georgia College Bobcat Classic, sweeping Lees-McRae, 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-18) and the host Bobcats, 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-15), at the Centennial Center.
Anderson moved to 3-0 on the season and handed Georgia College (3-1) its first loss of the year, while Lees-McRae (0-3) was still searching for its first win of the season after dropping a 3-0 decision to the host Bobcats earlier Sunday afternoon.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Senior outside hitter Marissa Mitter led all players with 10 kills, while adding seven digs and a pair of block assists. Senior middle blocker Rachel Burts tallied eight kills on a .583 hitting percentage and posted four block assists. Sophomore setter Emily Conlin handed out 37 assists and came up just shy of her second straight double-double by coming up with eight digs and chipped in a pair of aces. Junior Emily Conard recorded a team-high 11 digs, while notching two aces.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans came out hot for the second straight match, posting a .444 attack percentage and scoring the first eight points of the opening frame, while committing just one attack error in 27 attempts.
AU pushed out to an 11-2 advantage on a kill by sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Hughes and steadily built a double-digit, 16-6, cushion and the Bobcats were unable to get any closer than nine the rest of the way.
The Black and Gold jumped out to an 11-3 advantage in the second frame and overcame nine attack errors to take the win. AU doubled up Lees-McRae, 20-10, on sophomore Rachel Mackey's first of three kills during the set.
The Bobcats trimmed AU's lead to single digits (22-14) late in the frame, before Mackey and Conlin and Mackey sandwiched kills around a Lee-McRae error to finish the win.
The final set saw four early ties before AU snapped a 9-9 deadlock by scoring eight unanswered points as part of a 9-3 run.
Lees-McRae closed within 21-16 before freshman right-side hitter Regan Duty posted the third kill of her collegiate debut and the Trojans scored three of the final five points.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Mitter posted a match-high 11 kills and added six digs, with Jackson and junior Jayln Knight each adding nine kills apiece. Jackson also chipped in four block assists, while Knight tallied 12 digs. Conlin dished out 38 assists, notched three aces and recorded seven digs, while Conard came up with 19 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
A late 6-2 run enabled AU to survive a rally by Georgia College, with the Trojans holding off the challenge for the five-point win.
With Conlin serving, AU scored the first three points of the frame and went on to build a 12-4 lead – their largest of the set. But the Bobcats used a 5-2 run to get within five before the Trojans rebuilt an 18-11 advantage when Jackson and Hughes combined for a block, only to see Georgia College rattle off a 7-1 scoring outburst to trim AU's cushion to just 19-18.
But the Trojans refused to surrender the lead, as Jackson responded by knocking down back-to-back kills giving AU a 21-18 edge. GC pulled within two before Mitter posted a kill and Burts notched back-to-back kills to give the Black and Gold the victory.
Neither team was able to build more than a three-point lead through the first half of the set, but AU reeled off eight unanswered points to break open the frame and the Trojans finished the scoring with a 13-3 run to secure the double-digit win.
Burts ignited the breakout with a kill, while Mitter followed with a pair of aces and Jackson recorded three kills during the decisive run.
The Bobcats took their first lead of the match by scoring the first point of the set, but it was brief as AU answered with six straight points to take a lead it would not relinquish.
Georgia College closed within one on two occasions, but the Trojans countered with five consecutive points as part of a 7-1 outburst to take a 16-9 lead. Knight sparked the run with a kill and powered the surge with her serves, while Mitter added two kills and Burts capped the run with a solo block, as AU went on to claim the 10-point win.
• The last time the Trojans opened the season with three straight wins was during the 2014 campaign when the Black and Gold began the season with four consecutive victories and went on to post a school-record 25 wins.
• Mitter led AU with 21 kills on the day (3.50/set).
• Mitter was named to the All-Tournament Team.
• Burts finished the day with an impressive .483 hitting percentage.
• Conlin handed out 75 assists (12.50/set) in the two matches.
• Mitter currently ranks third in the South Atlantic Conference in kills per set and fourth in total kills.
• Burts is tied for fourth in the SAC with a .444 hitting percentage and is tied for fifth with 10 total blocks.
• Conlin is second in the league in assists per set and fourth in total assists.
Anderson will look to keep the momentum going Friday, when the Trojans square off against their second and third consecutive Peach Belt Conference opponents - Lander and Augusta - at the USC Aiken Invitational.
Emmanuel – Julie de Blanck
Lees-McRae – Hannah Steckler
Valdosta State – Katie McInnis
Anderson – Marissa Mitter
Georgia College – Taylor Svehla