‘Splitters seal comeback as Eagles falter in Harrogate

‘Splitters seal comeback as Eagles falter in Harrogate

Box Score (PDF)

HARROGATE, Tenn. – After coming out of the gates swinging, Carson-Newman lost the final three sets to Lincoln Memorial in a four-set loss, 25-17, 19-25, 22-25 and 16-25, in South Atlantic Conference play Tuesday night at Mary Mars Gym.

"We weren't able to sustain level of play from game one," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said.  "Our serve receive broke down in the second and third. I think fatigue is setting in from the amount of games we have had to play in a small amount of time.

"That being said, I am proud of the effort and fight. We are making improvements. We can either view this as an obstacle or opportunity. We will get it right and finish strong and with our talent anything is possible in the second half of conference play."

Since 2010, Lincoln Memorial (10-6, 6-4) had won 11 of the 17 meetings including five of the last six against Carson-Newman (9-8, 5-5) while moving to 9-1 at home this year. Only one team has won at Mary Mars Gym this year, undefeated Wingate. The Eagles had been 8-2 in 2018 and 25-11 under Franklin when taking the first frame.

It was a good start to the night as the Eagles came out and won the first five points forcing three attack errors from the other side of the net. All told, it was an 11-2 opening to the contest as C-N put the clamps down early. LMU was able to cut the deficit to four at 15-11 only to see its foe win five of the next seven before Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) punctuated a frame where the Eagles hit .357 with a smash.

The second stanza was the antithesis of the first as the Railsplitters led wire-to-wire winning seven of the first 10 to stretch out a bulge. The Eagles kept the game close but LMU won four straight to push the margin to 19-13. A late 3-0 spurt cut the margin back to three at 22-19 but the home group won the final three including the final two on aces from Sarah Jones.

In the third game, there was eight ties and five lead changes. The Eagles flipped an early 4-2 deficit into a 7-5 lead with an early burst and continued to lead at 11-7. LMU flipped the script by winning five straight points and 11 of 14 to go on top 18-14. C-N used a 6-1 jaunt to tie the score at 20-20 but would only win one more point in the game as Rylee Storms found an empty space to put the home group on top 2-1.

Lincoln Memorial won four of the first six points of the fourth game and the Eagles could never complete a comeback despite getting within one four times including at 17-16. The Railsplitters responded by taking the final eight points of the night as Storms put the finishing touches on the win.

On the stat sheet, the Eagles hit .171 on 40 kills with 10 rejections, 79 digs and four aces while the 'Splitters produced 53 kills and hit .147 with 78 scoops, 10 aces and five blocks.

Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) registered double-doubles with 12 kills and 14 digs and 10 kills and 19 digs respectively.

Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, Tenn.) led the roster with 23 scoops while Elena Vasquez (Riverside, Calif.) and Taylor Rohr (Windsor, Colo.) added 18 and 15 assists.

A trio of LMU hitters finished in double figures led by 15 from Lindsey Nartker. Storms tallied 13 kills and 12 digs and Emma Flowers had 13 smashes.

Emily Walter had a match-high 41 assists to go along with 14 digs and Erica Whiteaker led all players with 24 digs.

The Eagles return to Holt Fieldhouse Friday night against Anderson for a 7 p.m. first serve from Mossy Creek. Tune into the Eagle Sports Network for the broadcast on cneagles.com/live starting five minutes before first serve.

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