HICKORY, N.C. – Extending its longest winning streak of the season to five matches, Carson-Newman captured a five-set victory in South Atlantic Conference play Friday night at Shuford Gym over Lenoir-Rhnye 13-25, 25-22, 25-16, 14-25 and 15-10.
"Another gritty road win for our Eagles," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "Again the service line was the difference for us tonight. Our athletes are learning how to give whatever game they have that night to their teammates whether that's their 'A-game' or 'C-game'. Our wins are true team wins.
"The thing about winning streaks is that the next match is the most important one and we will take care of our bodies and get prepared for a scrappy Catawba team tomorrow."
Carson-Newman (13-10, 8-7) had lost three straight five-set outings to Lenoir-Rhyne (9-10, 5-8) since last winning a match in five on Nov. 4, 2011 as the Eagles snapped a three-match skid to the Bears.
Setter Anna Patton (Franklin, Tenn.) packaged together a complete statistical game with 37 assists, eight digs, six kills, four blocks and three service aces.
Only one player on the visiting side had double-digit kills as Marnie Streeter cranked out 20 on a .203 hitting clip to go along with five digs.
Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, N.C.) led a trio of Eagles with double-figure digs as the sophomore posted 34. Hannah Robertson (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) and Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) had 16 and 13 respectively.
In the first set, Lenoir-Rhyne registered six blocks while holding Carson-Newman to a minus-.139 hitting clip. The Eagles captured a 2-1 lead out of the gates before the Bears took charge winning six of the next seven to go on top 7-3. After shrinking the gap to three points at 13-10, C-N lost six straight points. Jaclyn Denny put a bow on the game with a kill.
With a .278 hitting percentage in the second stanza, the Eagles bounced back with a more efficient set. The early going featured six ties. At 7-7, Franklin's club began to separate winning six of the next eight to ahead 13-9. The Bears pulled within one five times before pulling even at 19. Winning five of the next seven the Eagles had the response and closed out the frame on a setting mistake from Bailey Cloninger.
Each program exchanged rallies through the first 12 rallies before C-N won five straight points to take an 11-6 lead. The Eagles had a bevy of explosive sequences to extend the lead as Oldenburger ended the set with a smash.
The difference in the fourth set was a late surge from the Bears. C-N led 12-9 before giving up seven straight points to fall behind 16-12. It was 17-14 when L-R rattled off the final eight rallies to force a winner-take-all fifth.
Lenoir-Rhyne had a stranglehold on the fifth set holding the lead until the two teams switched sides at 8-7 Bears. The Eagles tied the score at 10 en route to winning the final six points of the night capped by a kill from Streeter.
Overall on the night, the Eagles racked up a .140 hitting percentage with 93 digs, eight blocks and four service aces while the Bears countered with a .164 margin, 95 digs, 10 rejections and eight aces.
A trio of Bears finished with at least 10 kills led by 17 from Taylor Prall who added 16 digs. Brooke Redmond chipped in 12 smashes and 16 scoops. Denny added 10 kills and 2.5 blocks.
Each setter for L-R had a double-double. Jessica Funk tallied 29 assists and 11 digs and Cloninger went for 17 and 11.
Ashley Markland paced the group with 31 digs as she handed out five assists.
Saturday will be the penultimate regular-season road match of the campaign for the Eagles as C-N faces the Catawba College Catawba Indians at 2 p.m. Video and live stats will be available with live updates available on @CNathletics on Twitter.
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