FORT WAYNE, IND— Twice on opening day, it all came down to the top-seeded teams.
Twice on opening day, Carson-Newman lost in tough fashion at the Prinicipia College Beach Bash. C-N opened its season with a 3-2 loss to host Principia College before dropping a 3-2 result against Stevenson University Friday in Fort Wayne.
The Eagles have now lost their season openers two years in-a-row.
"It was a heartbreaker in both. It's very tough to lose 3-, especially twice, but overall it was a good day," head beach coach Kody DuBarry said. "I saw a lot of good things from a lot of different people. It was much improved from last year."
Match 1 – Principia 3, Carson-Newman 2
The day began with the No. 5 pair of Lexy Headly and Taryn Nicholas. Headly and Nicholas took the first set 21-17 but lost the second set to Makenna Patterson and Jessica Bayne 21-12. A third set fell in favor of the Panther's duo and handed C-N its first loss of the day.
Carson-Newman bounced out to a 2-1 lead thanks to a win at the third flight. Sarah Ungerlaider and Mesa Geobel barely defeated the C-N pair of Kelly Hughs and Aryana Fazelnia with a close 21-19 finish in the first set. Hughs and Fazelina rallied back in the second set to deliver a 21-12 win against the Panther's twosome. The game deciding third set went in favor of Carson-Newman with a 15-11 win.
At the No. 2 position, Grace Seymor and Morgan Siwiec fell to Sophia Hathaway and Nikki Matters in consecutive sets 21-10, 21-17, tying the match 2-2.
The top-seeded pair of Summer Coulter and Abby Struewing fell to Hayden Warner and Devon Marunde in two sets 21-12, 21-14. The Eagles' loss passed the win over to the Panthers leaving the overall score 3-2.
Match 2 – Stevenson 3, Carson-Newman 2
The same No. 5 pairing, Lexy Headly and Taryn Nicholas battled in first game against Emily Pellini and Mackenzie Blevins but fell in two tight sets 21-18, 21-19.
A thrilling match comes from the No. 4 seed, Williams and Sauter. The Mustangs pair, Grace Chaffee and Lizi Cudal dominated the first set 21-12, but the C-N tandem fought back in the second set leaving the score 21-17. The tie-breaking third set was a teeter-tottering battle and was forced into extra points. The Eagles capped the set 16-14.
Fazelnia and Hughes logged a second straight triumph with a three-set win over Caroline Dangel and Emily Castro. C-N's duo defeated Castro and Dangel 21-17 in the first set, but then barely lost the second 21-19. The Eagles' couple won the last set 15-9 and briefly took the lead for the day.
The No. 2 tandem, Siwiec and Seymour fell to Piper Conners and Darian Hileman in identical sets 21-14, 21-14. This result brought another 2-2 tie, leaving the final outcome up to the No. 1 seed.
Stevenson's Trang Christainsen and Katie Leftridge defeated Coulter and Struewing by the second largest margin of the day 21-11. The C-N duo tried to gain momentum, but lost the second set 21-14, handing the match over to Stevenson University 3-2.
"We've just got to go and play as hard as we can tomorrow," Dubarry said. "We need to take the things we learned today and apply them to our matches tomorrow."
The Carson-Newman Beach Volleyball team is back in the sand Sasturday for day two of the Principia College Beach Bash against Morehead State at 10 a.m. and Tusculum Univeristy at 1 p.m.