Royals Edge Trojans in Five-Set Battle

Royals Edge Trojans in Five-Set Battle

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a five-set, back-and-forth battle befitting two of the top three teams in the South Atlantic Conference standings midway through the conference slate, Queens outlasted Anderson, 3-2 (15-25, 25-18, 16-25, 25-23, 15-11) in volleyball action, Saturday afternoon at the Levine Center.

"Tough loss on the road but we learned a lot about ourselves," said Anderson head coach Todd Hay. "It's good to be in 'must-have' pressure situations and see what we're made of mentally and physically. I know we will be better off in the long run IF we can learn from the positives and negatives of the match."

Less than a day after posting their third-highest hitting percentages of the season (.326) at Catawba, the Trojans recorded one of their third-lowest – at .149 – versus the Royals.

Anderson slipped to 12-3 overall and 9-2 in the conference, while falling for the first time since Sept. 13 and saw its win streak halted at 10 matches. Queens improved to 12-3 overall and 9-2 in the league with its fifth straight victory and 10th win in its last 12 outings.

Senior middle hitter Hailee Wilhelm led the Trojans with 16 kills, while recording a season-high seven digs and came up with three block assists. Sophomore middle hitter Noelle 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. Sophomore Maya Learmonth and junior Regan Duty each tallied 10 kills apiece.

Senior setter Emily Conlin posted her second straight double-double, with 51 assists and 21 digs, with freshman Lindsay McCurley notching a season-high 28 digs on the afternoon. Freshman defensive specialist Alexandra Petrilli tallied 16 digs.

First Set
The first frame was a set of early fits and spurts, with the Trojans notching the first two points before Queens countered with four unanswered points. AU then answered with five straight points to claim a lead it would not surrender.

The Trojans used a 12-4 outburst to turn a narrow, 9-7, advantage into a double-digit, 21-11, cushion and went on to claim the 10-point win.

Second Set
Queens jumped out to a quick, 7-1, lead and the Trojans' offense was stymied and unable to recover from 12 attack errors in the frame.

AU sliced the deficit to just four on five occasions – the last time at 21-17 - but was unable to get any closer down the stretch.

Third Set
The third frame featured eight ties, with Duty's first kill of the set snapping an 11-11 deadlock and giving AU the lead for good.

The Royals climbed within two three times but AU pulled away late and closed the set on an 8-1 run.

Fourth Set
The Trojans scored the first five points of the fourth set and held a 9-4 edge before Queens used a 7-1 scoring outburst to claim its first lead of the frame, at 11-10.

The score was knotted 11 more times, with neither team able to build more than a one-point lead until the Royals snapped a 21-21 deadlock with three straight points. AU staved off set point twice and forced a Queens' timeout, but were unable to catch the Royals.

Fifth Set
The Trojans struck early and crept out to an 8-5 lead, before Queens took advantage of a .300 hitting percentage to score five straight points as part of a decisive 9-1 run.

AU again held off match point twice before dropping the four-point decision.

The Trojans had five players reach double-figure kills for the first time this season.

• AU holds a 27-13 advantage in the overall series and has won 24 of the last 31 meetings, including five of the last eight.
• The Trojans slipped to 2-1 in five-set matches.
• Learmonth has reached double-figure kills in nine matches this season.
• Wilhelm has posted double-digit kills in four of the last six matches, including two straight.
• Knutsen has notched double-figure kills in five of AU's last seven contests, while hitting .447 over the last five matches.
• McCurley has recorded double-figure digs on nine occasions.
• DeVaux has tallied double-figure digs 10 times this season.
• Conlin has eight double-doubles, including two straight, and has reached the 40-assist plateau nine times.
• Grube reached double-figure kills for the fifth time this season.

Anderson returns to the friendly confines of the Abney Athletic Center on Tuesday, when the Trojans open a season-high four-match homestand by welcoming preseason Conference Carolinas-favorite Emmanuel to the Electric City.