NEWBERRY, S.C. – In a match where four sets were decided by two points apiece, Carson-Newman racked up its highest service ace total since 2012 in a five-set South Atlantic Conference thriller at Eleazer Arena on Monday evening as the Eagles took down Newberry 24-26, 25-20, 27-25, 28-30 and 15-13.
"Great persistence shown by the Eagles tonight!" Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "That's four straight five-set matches at home for Newberry and we are excited to have earned a hard fought victory. We have things to clean up but it is very exciting to see the competitive energy and fortitude of this squad to fight through adversity especially after losing the lead in the fourth and being down by a wide margin in the fifth. It's another big test tomorrow where that competitiveness will be tested."
The program had not racked up 15 aces in a match in 156 outings, or 1,838 days, when it did so against Converse on Sept. 6, 2013. With 16 aces against the Wolves, Carson-Newman (6-4, 2-1) piled up its most since notching the same amount against Lenoir-Rhyne on Sept. 29, 2012. Seven players registered at least one ace on the night.
On the night there were 50 ties and 27 lead changes over the course of the five sets. The Eagles had been 3-34 entering Monday under Franklin when dropping the first frame but they have won two of their last four tries.
The contest marked the first Monday night affair for C-N in the 25-point era of NCAA volleyball having defeated King on Nov. 7, 2005 in its last Monday match as the Eagles win at Newberry (6-7, 1-3) for the first time since 2015.
To open action the Eagles captured four of the first five points and had a 6-3 edge when Newberry won four straight to take its first lead of the night at 7-6. It began a seesaw sequence that featured a dozen ties until C-N broke a 17-17 tally with four straight. With the lead sitting at 22-18, the Wolves won six in-a-row to get to a set point. A kill from Katie Parnell (Atlanta, Ga.) and an ace from Taylor Rohr (Windsor, Colo.) tied the score at 24. Newberry sealed the set on its third try thanks to a kill from Lacie Wood and its third block of the game.
The Wolves held a 6-4 advantage in the second stanza when the Eagles went off scoring eight of the next nine to go on top 12-7 and force a time out from their foe. The home group was able to close the gap to three points at 19-16 but the Eagles had enough to tie the match at one as Newberry committed 12 attack errors.
Twelve ties highlighted a back-and-forth third set as three points was the largest lead for either side. C-N held an 18-16 edge only to see Newberry reel off four consecutive rallies. The Eagles won four of the next five to get ahead 23-21 only to see the Wolves come back to tie the score at 23. After getting to set point at 24-23, Newberry tied the set at 24 and 25. A smash down the right line by Kendall Cooley (Castle Rock, Colo.) and an ace from Natalie Harris (Monroe, N.C.) gave Franklin's flock a 2-1 lead in the match.
There were 15 ties and 12 lead changes in the fourth as it appeared as if the Eagles had control in the leading 22-17 when the Wolves began to chisel away at the deficit. Newberry won six of the next seven points to get to set point. The two sides flipped opportunities after an attack error tied the game at 24. An ace from Harris made it a 28-27 contest when the home group captured the final three points to force a fifth set.
In the final frame, it was an ominous start for the visitors as C-N lose five of the first six rallies before punching back and tying the tally at 10. After trading points an attack error by Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) gave the Wolves a 13-12 edge. It turned out to be the last deficit of the night as C-N won the final three points on kills by Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.), Oldenburger and a back-row attack from Streeter.
On the night each team racked up 60 kills marking the first time under Franklin that both clubs had the same amount of smashes. C-N posted a .141 hitting clip on 206 swings and Newberry finished with a .128 tally. The Eagles are 22-6 under their mentor when coming out ahead in the category.
The Eagles rounded out the stat sheet with 109 digs and 10 blocks while the Wolves had 109 scoops and a 14 rejections, their second-highest tally of the year.
A trio of Eagles finished with double-doubles on the day as Streeter led all players with 15 kills while adding a career-high 22 digs for her first double-double of the season.
Oldenburger racked up her fifth in her last six matches with 12 kills and 13 digs. Elena Vasquez (Riverside, Calif.) finished with a career-high 28 assists and 10 digs while adding her best serving game with four aces.
Cooley put together her best career outing with 10 kills, her first match in double figures, while hitting .360 making just one mistake on 25 swings.
Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, N.C.) continued her excellence in the back with 40 digs on the night, her second such effort in her last four. Harris compiled five kills, four aces and three blocks.
Three players finished in double figures in kills on the other side of the net with Toni-Anne Whitlow leading the way with 14. Sidra Triplett and Wood added 11 and 10 respectively.
Each setter had a double for Newberry. Olivia Kozenko had 28 assists and 19 digs and Taylor Garrison passed out 20 assists and notched 12 scoops. Kensley Jordan led her side with 39 digs and Zoe Dinkins had nine kills and 5.5 total blocks.
A Tuesday evening affair against Anderson is next on the docket as first serve is slated for 6 p.m. inside of the Abney Athletic Center. Video and stats will be available for the match.
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