TAVARES, Fla. -- Carson-Newman mustered just two winning games in three losing matches on Saturday at the AVCA Small College Championships.
The Eagles (2-25) saw wins from the duos of Lauren Williams, Lexy Headley and Kelly Hughes, Aryana Fazelnia. Both of those victories came in the first match of the day against Lincoln Memorial (8-9). Williams and Headley took their win in two sets while Hughes and Fazelnia were victorious in three sets.
In three meetings with the Railsplitters, C-N has fallen in all of them, now losing two in close fashion at 3-2.
The second match of the day saw Tampa (17-10) take down the Orange and Blue in a 5-0 sweep.
Carson-Newman faced Saint Leo (10-13) for the first time this season, falling in another 5-0 loss for a fifth loss at the Championships.
"We played two really tough teams this afternoon and our goal was to learn what it means to compete and not let our circumstances determine our response," Director of Beach Volleyball Dave Franklin said. "Our girls raised that standard this afternoon and that will do wonders for the future of our program."
Match One: LMU 3, C-N 2
At the No. 4 spot, Lauren Williams and Lexy Headley gave Carson-Newman its first win of the tournament. The two grinded through the first set to win within two points at 21-19. They hit the gas pedal in the second set and won the game 21-16.
Kelly Hughes and Aryana Fazelnia competed in the first three-set game of the tournament at the No. 3 position. The Railsplitters' duo took the first set with a swift 21-7 win. The C-N tandem battled back in the second set 21-16 to force a tie breaker. The third set was a teeter-tottering fight, but the Eagles' took the set 15-13 to advance their lead 2-1.
The No. 1 flight of Summer Coulter and Abby Struewing became the deciding game. The Railsplitters' group pushed the game into extra points to take the first set 22-20. Coulter and Struewing fell behind in the second set, handing over the game to the LMU duo, 21-14, and the match at 3-2.
"We had a great battle with LMU this morning," Franklin said. "The pairs that won this morning showed improved offense through much more aggressive approaches and shot making."
Match Two: Tampa 5, C-N 0
Joy Rhodes made her first collegiate beach volleyball appearance with Taryn Nichols at the No. 5 flight. The two lost in consecutive sets 21-9, 21-8.
Williams and Headley competed at the No. 4 spot. The C-N group lost in identical 21-10 sets.
At the No. 3 seed, Hughes and Fazelnia lost the first set 21-10. The Spartans' group went on long scoring runs to finish the Eagles pairing, 21-7. This snatched the win for Tampa with a 3-0 lead over the Orange and Blue.
The No. 2 pairing of Seymour and Montgomery handed the game over in two sets to the Spartans 21-11, 21-13.
Coulter and Struewing appeared at the top-seeded flight. They did not reach double digits in the first set, 21-7. They had a slight increase in the second set but ultimately lost 21-13, securing the 5-0 sweep for Tampa.
Match Three: Saint Leo 5, C-N 0
Dilyn Palmer and Joy Rhodes played together for the first time and lost in back-to-back sets at the No. 5 spot, 21-8 and 21-13.
Williams and Headley lost in sequential sets 21-12, 21-15 to the Green and Gold at the fourth-seed.
Hughes and Fazelnia put up a tough fight at the No. 3 position. The C-N tandem lost in a tight first set 21-19. They could not regroup in time, and the game went in favor of the Lions with a 21-16 second set, giving Saint Leo a 3-0 lead.
At the No. 2 seed, the Lion's duo beat Seymour and Sauter in set one 21-10. The Eagles could not recover and lost the second set 21-12.
The top-seeded assembly of Coulter and Struewing lost in near identical sets, 21-13 and 21-14, to cap the game with a 5-0 sweep for the Lions.
"We have one more day tomorrow to get better and send us into the off-season motivated and hungry," Franklin said.
The Eagles now look ahead to playing Principia in the first match-up of the bronze playoffs tomorrow at 10 a.m. The winner of that face-off will take on the winner of Tusculum and Eckerd at noon.