Big block powers C-N to thrilling five-set win over L-R

VIDEO: Match Highlights

VIDEO: Dave Franklin Interview

VIDEO: Katie Parnell Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman produced a season-high 13 blocks including six in the third set and used late runs to seal a five-set win over South Atlantic Conference foe Lenoir-Rhyne Friday evening at Holt Fieldhouse 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 19-25 and 15-11.

"We are going through spurts but we are making enough plays to put pressure on them," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "They are usually a low error team, but we put them out of system with our serving. They made some errors to keep us around and we found a way to make that play tonight.

"We grew throughout the night. I think we are learning how to do both and when we do we can really take off. I think it's just growing mentally because physically we can do this."

Lenoir-Rhyne (12-5, 6-4) had won five of the last six meetings at Mossy Creek as Carson-Newman (9-6, 5-3) beats the Bears in five for the second straight meeting. The event featured 36 ties and 17 lead changes on the night.

In a back-and-forth first set, the two teams were tied 12 times. Lenoir-Rhyne had three runs of 4-0 or greater including a late one that pushed the margin to 21-17 late in the first. The Eagles answered by ripping off eight of the final nine capping the victory on a smash to the middle of the floor by Erin Edwards (Midlothian, Va.).

The Bears never trailed in the second stanza after winning the first three rallies of the night. After a 6-2 run for the visitors pushed the margin out to 14-8, the Eagles rattled off a 7-2 spurt to pull within one. It was 19-18 when L-R won four straight to open a 23-18 lead. A kill from Alannah Thomas tied the match at one.

The Eagles opened up a five-point lead in the third set behind an 8-3 surge to make it 11-6. L-R fought back and a 6-0 run made it 14-12 in favor of the Bears. C-N came back to tie the score three times before a 3-0 sequence gave Lenoir-Rhyne a 21-18 edge. Franklin's group won seven of the final nine including the final three after trailing 23-22. Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) punctuated the set with a kill down the line.

In the fourth frame, the two sides were tied on nine occasions. With C-N on top 17-16 and out of a timeout from L-R, the Bears rattled off seven straight points to take control as a service ace from Rachel Bewick set the match to the fifth set.

The theme of the night continued in the fifth set as there were seven ties. A 5-1 spurt flipped a deficit into a 12-9 lead for the Eagles. After a timeout, L-R won back-to-back points. Franklin used a timeout and his group answered by winning the final three of the night as Kendall Cooley's (Castle Rock, Colo.) fifth kill of the evening sealed the match.

Overall, C-N hit .138 on 59 kills with a season-high 129 digs and four aces while L-R had 56 kills on a .121 hitting mark with 125 scoops, seven blocks and five aces.

Three Eagles had double figure kills while four players produced a double-double on the night. Edwards led the way with 13 kills while hitting .235.

Streeter finished with her third double-double of the year with 12 kills and 21 digs and Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) finished with 11 kills and 15 digs.

Elena Vasquez (Riverside, Calif.) had 21 assists and 11 digs while her setting mate Taylor Rohr (Windsor, Colo.) finished with a career-high 28 assists and 13 digs.

Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, N.C.) recorded her third-career 50-dig night with 51 out of the back row, the second-most in a Division II match this year. Bloomsburg's Alyssa Cianciulli had 52 in a four-set effort against West Virginia Wesleyan on Sept. 8.

Katie Parnell (Atlanta) had nine kills while hitting .533 and nine block assists while Cooley added four total rejections for the home side.

"In practice we have been working on seeing the ball," Parnell said. "Our pin hitters have been really good at getting in good position to see the block. That helped me close the block and get so many touches. We played clean and keeping that energy going."

A trio of Bears reached double digits as well as Angelica Arroyo had a match-high 17 kills but made 10 hitting errors. She added 14 digs. Jaclyn Denny had 13 smashes and Hannah Houston added 11.

Helen Hamilton dished out 47 aces to go along with 10 digs, four aces and 2.5 rejections. Ashley Hawkins paced a group of six players in double figures with 28 digs on the night.

The Eagles hit the floor again on Saturday for a 5 p.m. first serve against Mars Hill inside of Holt Fieldhouse. Fans can enjoy a video stream on courtesy of the Eagle Sports Network.

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