The Eagles sit a half game in front of Anderson heading into Saturday afternoon's match with Lenoir-Rhyne (16-8, 8-5 SAC).
The Bears bested Carson-Newman 3-1 in the teams' first meeting back on Sept. 29.
"When we played L-R, which does seem like forever ago, we were still figuring out our lineup and figuring out who was where and who worked well with who," Carson-Newman head volleyball coach Shannon Mincey said. "Now we've got players who are slipping into their role quite nicely."
One of those freshman, Kiayna O'Neal (Katy, Texas) is riding into the game off a career best .611 attack percentage, while another newcomer, Emily Schultz (Atlanta, Ga.) produced a career high 14 kills in the Eagles' 3-2 victory over Brevard Thursday night.
"We've had a competitive edge recently," Shannon Mincey said. "To see (our younger players) being competitive whether on the court or off the court as fun. They're cheering on our team as Carson-Newman and not individuals now."
After winning five in a row, the Bears have dropped two straight. Brittany Toffan's 1.09 b/s is good for second in the conference. However, Mincey said the Eagles need only to look within to find motivation, and it's started with seniors Angelle Hayes (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Rachael Bowlin (Morristown, Tenn.).
"Our seniors have been steady in their consistency and leadership," Mincey said. "Where we are in the conference is not where our seniors want to be, but they have not hung their heads and played the woe is me card. They are very steady in their consistency of trying to instill tradition into some of these kids who don't know it.
The Eagles and Bears start at 2 p.m. Saturday. Carson-Newman returns home to Holt for a Tuesday match with Lincoln Memorial.