JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – On a night where it did not hit below .231 in any set, Carson-Newman captured a sweep of Tusculum 25-20, 25-21 and 25-14 Tuesday evening at Pioneer Arena in South Atlantic Conference play.
"Our serve receive was really good tonight," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "It gave our setters a chance. We have pushed our setters to be more precise. They did that tonight and it allowed our hitters to hit the shots. We balanced our offense pretty well and kept them on their toes. I think it was a combination of a lot of things that allowed us to have that kind of efficiency."
Winners of seven of the last 10 meetings with Tusculum (2-11, 0-7), Carson-Newman (8-6, 4-3) racked up its third-highest hitting margin at .248 as a team while handing the Pioneers their 11th loss in-a-row.
Three Eagles racked up four kills in the opening set to help the team hit .231 as a group in a game that featured seven ties and three lead changes. With the visitors down 10-9, C-N ripped off seven of eight to go on top 16-11. The Pioneers chiseled away and brought the differential back to two at 19-17 only to see the Eagles take control and seal the deal on a block from Katie Parnell (Atlanta, Ga.) and Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.).
The second stanza saw 11 ties but Tusculum took a 13-9 lead on an attack error forcing a timeout from the Eagles. While C-N took the lead twice, it was down 21-20 after a kill from Tatum Thronton. Franklin's club answered by winning the final five points of the set with the final three coming from mistakes by Aubrey Hawkins.
"For us it started with the defense in those final points," Franklin said. "Our block put their hitters in a tough position. Taylor Rohr served really well through that stretch. We didn't have to do much. That's part of playing after 20 – force your opponent to play aggressive and play clean [on our side]. We were able to do that."
In the third frame, Carson-Newman was able to put it on cruise control winning the first three rallies and five of the first six. A 4-0 sequence pushed the margin to 14-7. The Pioneers pulled within five at 18-13 before the Eagles ripped off seven of the final eight to seal the deal.
The high marks offensively came on 41 kills with 55 digs, 11 blocks and two service aces compared to Tusculum's .000 mark on 26 kills with 51 digs, five aces and two rejections.
Streeter paced the offense with 12 kills while adding seven digs. Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) added a double-double for the eighth time in 13 matches on the year with 10 kills and 12 digs.
Kendall Cooley (Castle Rock, Colo.) finished the night with a .368 efficiency on eight kills with a pair of block assists.
"Our serve receive was doing well right off the bat," Cooley said. "We were passing really good balls and Elena was putting up really hittable balls for me."
Emily Lawless led Tusculum with 25 assists and seven digs while Melissa Mazur had a team-high 13 digs. Gabby Gray had eight kills but seven hitting errors to top the charts at the net.
The Eagles return home to start a stretch of four of five inside of the friendly confines starting with Lenoir-Rhyne on Friday evening for a 7 p.m. first serve at Holt Fieldhouse. Broadcast coverage can be found on cneagles.com/live for the affair.
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