BREVARD, N.C. – Carson-Newman (10-13, 4-10 SAC) got a career high 14 kills from Emily Schultz (Atlanta, Ga.) as the Eagles battled back and forth with Brevard (10-15, 1-13 SAC) to come out on top in five sets (20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-16, 15-13) Thursday night at Boshamer Gym.
It's the second five-set match in a row the Eagles have won after losing their first five, five-setters.
"Our team displayed an enormous amount of heart tonight," Carson-Newman head coach Shannon Mincey said. "Kristen Pickett, Angelle Hayes and Rachael Bowlin stepped up and led the team tonight in many ways."
The night saw increased leadership roles for the Eagles after Mincey was given a red card in the fourth set with the score 13-11 in favor of C-N.
Since Pickett was listed as Carson-Newman's speaking captain, she was deemed the Eagles coach when Mincey was forced to leave the game.
Carson-Newman would go on to score 12 of the next 16 points to blow Brevard off the court and force the decisive fifth set. Senior libero Angelle Hayes (Brentwood, Tenn.) said the ejection only served to fire up the Eagles.
"Mincey got kicked out because she was fighting for a call for us (whether or not a ball had clipped the antenna)," Hayes said. "That riled us up to help push us on to a win. We were playing for what was written on our jersey."
Hayes indicated the ejection served for some extra motivation for Carson-Newman's front row of attackers.
"All the stuff that went on, it riled our front row up," Hayes said. "This was the most intense I've seen us play all year. Lauren Santarelli had the quote of the year in a timeout tonight, she said, 'We will either win as a team, or we'll die as individuals.' Tonight we won as a team."
The fact that the match had SAC tournament implications made the contest even more meaningful for Hayes. The Eagles sit a half game in front of Anderson in the SAC standings. The Trojans hold the tiebreaker with the Eagle. Anderson has three games remaining and the Eagles, four. C-N needs to win one more game than the Trojans over that stretch to make the conference tournament.
"This game brought us together as a team; this was the first time I felt that we were playing for each other and the program," Hayes said. "We left our hearts on that floor. We want so desperately to get to the conference tournament; we just had to leave everything on the court. I can't say how much I love my team after this match."
Carson-Newman stays on the road for a Saturday contest with Lenoir-Rhyne before returning home to face Lincoln Memorial Tuesday night.