GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University women's volleyball team will close out the regular season in style, holding an Alumni Night on Friday and Senior Day on Saturday. The Anderson Trojans, sitting third in the SAC, will come to town to begin the final weekend, while the Newberry Wolves, tied 10th in the conference, will be the opponent for the regular season finale.
RECAPPING THE WEEK
The Black and Orange split the week's matches away from Pioneer Arena. Tusculum swept Coker in dominant fashion and gave Wingate a challenge before falling to the Bulldogs.
Emiah Burrowes led the Tusculum offense in both match, totaling 32 kills. Taylor Blythe also had a great week with 18 kills on a .552 hitting percentage. Thornton and Gabby Gray both recorded 14 kills, with Thornton's coming on a .667 clip with no attack errors. At the service line, six Pioneers notched at least one ace. Carly Sosnowski finished with a trio, while Burrowes and Rojas tallied a pair. Blythe, Elise Carmichael, and Pejovic rounded out the category with one each.
Defensively, Sosnowski collected 29 digs, followed by Burrowes with 14. Both Gray and Rojas reached double-figures with 11 digs. At the net, Thornton was credited with four block assists to lead the way. Carli Pigza added three block assists and Blythe recorded three total blocks (one solo, two assists).
Carmichael and Rojas combined for the setting duties, collectively dishing out 83 of Tusculum's 89 assists.
Tusculum leads the SAC in assists (1,192) and kills (1,251), and is second in assists per set (12.29). The Pioneers are also in the top half of the conference in nine other statistical categories, including kills per set, aces per set, hitting percentage, total blocks, and opponent hitting percentage. Individually, Clingan leads the conference in aces per set (.52), good for 17th across Division II. Blythe is second in the SAC in hitting percentage (.384) by a mere .005, 23rd nationally. Burrowes is third in the league in attacks per set (9.61), kills (295), and kills per set (3.51), while Sosnowski is third in digs per set (4.95).
Anderson (20-5, 16-4 SAC) has the week off before coming to Greeneville on Friday. The Trojans will travel to Wise, Virginia to take on the Cavaliers on Saturday afternoon. Maya Learmonth heads up the attack with 242 kills, followed by Hailee Wilhelm (219) and Regan Duty (208). Emily Conlin recently became Anderson's all-time career assist leader and has surpassed 1,000 assists this season (1,008). Lindsay McCurley has recorded 44 service aces and 380 digs to lead the team. Noelle Knutsen has collected the most total blocks with 77 (13 solo, 64 assists). The Trojans lead the SAC in aces with 216 and are second in aces per set (2.18), both ranked eighth in Division II. Conlin's assists per set (10.5) and total assists lead the SAC and are 32nd across the division.
Since the two teams first started playing one another in 2005, Tusculum holds the slight edge in the series over Anderson 15-12, including the loss to the Trojans earlier in the season.
Newberry (6-19, 4-16 SAC) will visit UVa-Wise Friday night before heading to Tusculum for a Saturday afternoon showdown. Toni-Anne Whitlow has knocked down 248 kills, while Avery Webb has dished out 357 assists. The defense is led by Zoe Dinkins' 74 total blocks (14 solo, 60 assists). Katie Ullsperger's 26 service aces are tops for the Wolves and Sydney Diaz has the most digs with 274. Newberry is 10th and lower in the SAC in 12 categories, with a high of 5th in aces per set (1.74).
Since the two teams' first meeting in 1999, Tusculum looks to extend the all-time series lead to 26-19, after the sweep at Newberry in early October.
Links to live stats and video for Tusculum University athletic events can be found through tusculumpioneers.com.