JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Looking to ignite some momentum, Carson-Newman hits the road for a Friday night tilt against Catawba at 7 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. against Queens in South Atlantic Conference play.
"Mindfulness is a key term that we use," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "If we go can out and be mindful of what we are doing and get into a rhythm early. A lot of that is being an athlete and getting into that zone. If we can emotionally get ourselves into the right place to get into a rhythm good things are going to happen for us in a match setting. While we don't get to train, getting to do it in a competitive environment is good as well. If you learn to do it there that's where you want it done."
In its 30th season as a volleyball program, Carson-Newman (6-5, 2-2) is one win shy of No. 500 as a program. The Eagles are looking to become the third SAC school to rack up 500 victories as Wingate leads the way with over 700 and Catawba enters the year with 553.
Friday night is the 66th all-time meeting with Catawba as the Indians hold a 37-28 overall lead. It's been a tale of two centuries as the Eagles won just 3 of the first 23 meetings in the 20th century but has won 25 of the 39 since 2000. C-N has taken home victories in eight of the last 10 contests. Marnie Streeter has been extremely productive against the Indians over her last three outings with 48 smashes in the nine sets played.
The Indians are seeking their first home win of the season and have lost 12 of the last 13 times they have played at Goodman Gym dating back to the early part of 2017. Both of this season's home affairs have required five frames in losses to Wingate and Mars Hill.
"They are comfortable at home," Franklin said. "It's a team that can pass a little bit from what we have seen on film. If they are in system they are going to hit it at you. We are going to have to play some really good defense."
Offensively, Catawba is producing at one of the lowest rates in the conference ranking 10th in attack percentage and in the bottom third nationally with a .149 margin. Take out a .312 clip against Wilmington on Sept. 12 and the group has not hit above .217 in any match on the year. Coach Ginger Hamric's group has hit below .200 on 13 occasions.
Conversely, opponents are hitting at a .196 clip, the highest yielded tally of any team in the SAC. In nine matches, foes have finished the night with at least a .200 margin.
Junior setter Morgan Hester is guiding the unit with 8.84 assists per game, fifth in the league, and 23 total aces. She has four double-doubles in her last five matches including two efforts with 50-plus assists.
Saturday's affair will be a rematch of the 2017 SAC Tournament title game that was held in Jefferson City as Queens took home its first tournament crown defeating the Eagles in four sets.
While Franklin's group returns its two All-Tournament selections from last year, coach Hannah Long is working to replace the MVP, Sydney Kunz, and Alex Thompson. Streeter has recorded at least 10 kills in all five of her career matches against the Royals including 11 in the title match. Morgan Ballard racked up 42 scoops in the final after having 36 in the regular-season affair in the Queen City.
Since they began the year 5-1, the Royals are 2-7 over their last nine matches looking to find consistency offensively. It is a club that has hit below .200 in eight of its last nine matches leading the country in attacks per set at nearly 43 per game on the year leading to a league-leading 21 digs per set, four in Division II.
Casey Tarvin leads that group while ranking second in the SAC with 3.41 kills per set. She racked up 19 kills and 23 digs against the Eagles in the title match in 2017. In 2018, Tarvin has 11 matches with double-digit kills, six double-doubles and a pair of outings with 32 digs.
Both matches will be streamed by Catawba and Queens respectively while @CNathletics on Twitter will have the latest updates and visual stimulation as the Eagles start their quest for a winning streak.
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