JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman opened Holt Fieldhouse Friday night against league-leading Wingate and despite a tight battle on the scoreboard the Eagles fell by successive scores of 25-21 in South Atlantic Conference play.
"There were great three-set wars," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "They got a big lead in the third on us but we came back and still made it close. It was just a great war. I saw some inexperience out of us tonight still. Our setters are young and have to be able to perform in this environment. I think they will be able to do that. You have to get in the fire to be able to perform in the fire. I'm really excited to see that.
"We didn't play up to our standards tonight and we are in the match and in each set. That's a really high-level opponent. I thought it was great energy. It was really cool to have the crowd. They brought energy. Our kids have grown up a lot but we still have more to go."
In its SAC opener, Carson-Newman (4-4, 0-1) has now lost 14-straight home matches to Wingate (11-0, 4-0) while falling to 12-15 all-time in league lidlifters. The Bulldogs have now won 33 of the last 34 matchups between the two programs.
There were 13 ties and eight lead changes to start the night. Neither team led by a margin greater than two until a late run by Wingate. The Eagles were on top 17-15 when the Bulldogs won six of seven to go ahead 21-18. It was the cushion the visitors needed as Sophie Schaff ended the frame with a kill.
The second stanza featured another hotly contested effort early on with eight deadlocks and four score flips. After trailing 8-6, C-N came back to tie the score at 12. With the score even at 16, the Eagles watched allowed three straight points only to pull within a point at 21-20. Wingate won the next three as Schaff ended the game with her seventh kill.
Carson-Newman started hot in the third set winning three of the first four points of the game. It was a 5-3 margin when Wingate reeled off six consecutive points to go on top 9-5. The differential reached a match-high seven at 20-13 before the Eagles won seven of the next 10 to make it 23-20 but an attack error by Katie Parnell (Atlanta, Ga.) ended the match.
Overall on the night Wingate produced a .264 attack percentage behind 42 kills while racking up 47 digs, six blocks and a trio of aces. The nation's best defense held another opponent to a low attack clip as C-N mustered a .120 margin with 28 kills, 36 digs, five aces and four rejections.
Five players had at least three assists but no C-N player reached double figures in the category while Natalie Harris (Monroe, N.C.) led the team with 1.5 blocks.
Phoebe Haveaar registered 10 kills on 15 swings for a .667 attack percentage and Schaff added 10 kills of her own. Rachel Alles led all players with 34 assists to go along with eight digs and Kori Adams tallied 14 scoops to lead all players.
"I thought we got to gain a lot of experience," Franklin added. "That's going to be the big positive. I can't wait to play them again at their place. I'm sure they're excited to play us. We have had two really good wars the last times we've played."
The Eagles are back in action Saturday afternoon starting at 2 p.m. from Holt Fieldhouse against Coker. Broadcast coverage can be found on cneagles.com/live with updates available on Twitter by following @CNathletics.
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