JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Following its first loss in almost three weeks, Carson-Newman travels to the Abney Athletic Center to face the No. 1 team in the South Atlantic Conference standings Friday evening at 7 p.m.
"We are going to focus on us but it does allow us to think about certain shots that would be effective," Carson-Newman coach Davie Franklin said. "Instead of against two different teams and having to have a bunch. The first time we played Anderson, they're really good, but we handed them too many points. We were in the sets and errored ourselves to death."
The final three matches of the year feature the three schools in the SAC that Franklin has not beaten in his first two campaigns. To finish inside the top-eight in the league and qualify for the conference championships, the Eagles need one win or a loss by Coker.
Friday evening will be a rubber match between the two programs as each unit has 11 wins in the all-time series as Anderson (22-3, 15-1) seeks to extend a three-match winning streak over Carson-Newman (14-11, 9-8). The last win in the series for the Eagles came on the Trojans's home floor in the SAC quarterfinals on Nov. 20, 2015 in a five-set effort.
In the first outing of the year on Sept. 29 at Holt Fieldhouse, C-N fought off five match points before falling in four sets as Anderson's winning streak at the time stretched to six.
Each setter for Franklin's group finished with a double-double as Anna Patton had 16 assists and 13 digs. Elena Vasquez tallied a career-high 20 assists and had 11 digs to pick up her second double-double of the year.
Marissa Mitter finished the night with 17 kills and nine digs to lead the offensive effort while Kathryn Hughes racked up 12 smashes. Emily Conlin led all players with 42 assists picking up 12 digs along the way.
With four matches remaining in the regular season, Anderson is trying to become the first program other than Wingate to win an outright league championship since Presbyterian in 2005.
The Trojans have won 17 straight matches marking the fourth-longest active streak in the country behind Arkansas Tech (29), California Baptist (21) and Wheeling Jesuit (20). Wingate was the last program to earn a win over Anderson sweeping a match on Sept. 15 in Cuddy Arena during a stretch when the Trojans lost three of four.
Having won 13 consecutive matches at home, Anderson holds the 14th-longest active home winning streak in the country. Newberry is the last team to walk out of Abney Athletic Center with a victory as the Wolves swept an Oct. 18, 2016 meeting limiting Anderson to a .099 hitting percentage.
Coach Todd Hay's offense is second in the SAC with a .243 attack percentage, .294 at home, and 14.13 kills per set. Conlin guides the group with 11.98 assists per set, tops in the SAC and fifth in the nation.
Opponents are posting a .108 attack percentage on the year, No. 1 in the league and 11th in Division II. On the year, 13 teams have failed to crest .100 in a match with four schools posting margins below zero.
"Serve receive is where it starts," Franklin said of attacking Anderson. "We can put up balls that we can be aggressive with and also hit in bounds. If they get you out of system and try to be too aggressive that's where a lot of their points come from. We have to be smart and know when we can swing and when we cannot. It was a major part of our win streak."
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