WINGATE, N.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team opened its' South Atlantic Conference schedule with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-20) setback to preseason league favorite Wingate, Friday night at Cuddy Arena.
"Wingate did a very good job from the service line and we were constantly out of system with our offense," said Anderson head coach Todd Hay. "Our effort was strong and the team fought hard but we just couldn't get Connie the ball on a consistent basis. Hopefully we learn from the match and come back ready to work hard going forward."
Anderson (2-2, 0-1 SAC) saw its' win streak halted at two and suffered its second consecutive loss to the defending NCAA Southeast Region Champions. Wingate improved to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference, while running its home win streak to 39 consecutive matches.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Sophomore Maya Learmonth posted a team-high 11 kills, with freshman Taylor Weber chipping in four kills and three block assists. Senior setter Emily Conlin narrowly missed recording her second double-double of the season after handing out a match-high 22 assists and coming up with nine digs. Sophomore Meghan DeVaux posted a team-high 12 digs, while Christina Stacy notched nine digs and freshman Lindsay McCurley added seven. Sophomore middle blocker Hannah Worsham recorded three block assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans struck early by scoring the first two points, but Wingate responded with a 7-1 scoring run that forced an AU timeout after the 'Dogs claimed a four-point lead.
AU trimmed the deficit to 9-6 by capitalizing on a pair of Wingate errors and climbed within just one, at 11-10, on back-to-back kills from Learmonth before the Bulldogs rattled off an 11-4 surge that put the set out of reach.
AU snapped an early 4-4 deadlock on a kill from freshman Alexandra Petrilli and a Wingate miscue, then built a 9-5 advantage when Weber sandwiched a pair of kills around a kill from senior Hailee Wilhelm.
But Wingate chipped away and pulled as close as 10-9 before Learmonth again knocked down two straight kills that momentarily kept the 'Dogs at bay.
However, Wingate stayed within striking distance and used a 7-1 outburst that gave the Bulldogs their first lead since the opening moments of the set, at 16-14. An attack error by WU got the Black and Gold within just one, but the Trojans would get no closer than three down the stretch.
The final frame featured 10 ties and five lead changes before Wingate used an 8-3 surge to turn a 12-12 tie into a 20-15 advantage. Conlin and sophomore Noelle Knutsen got the Trojans within 20-17, but Wingate reached match point behind four consecutive scores and claimed the five-point victory after AU drew within four.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Trojans posted their lowest hitting percentage of the season, at .050.
• Wingate has won 23 of the last 26 matchups and leads the overall series, 23-4.
• The Bulldogs have lost just six conference contests over the last three seasons, with the Trojans dealing them three of those setbacks – all at the Abney Athletic Center.
• Wingate has lost only one set this season.
• Learmonth has posted double-figure kills in three of AU's four matches.
• DeVaux has reached double-figure digs in all four contests.
• The eight total blocks were a season high for the Trojans.
Anderson will get back on the court Saturday afternoon, when the Trojans visit Coker. First-serve in Hartsville, S.C., is set for 2 p.m.