JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With 10 matches remaining in the regular season, Carson-Newman returns to Holt Fieldhouse on Friday at 7 p.m. to take on Anderson and Saturday at noon for an affair with Newberry looking to finish the South Atlantic Conference slate on a high note.
Anderson broke a 12-all tie in the all-time series with a four-set victory on its home floor on Sept. 25 but the Eagles are 8-6 inside of the friendly confines all-time in the matchups. In the contest, coach Todd Hay's group hit .228 as four players finished in double figures in kills led by 17 on a .385 hitting clip from Hailee Wilhelm.
The last time the Trojans were in Holt Fieldhouse C-N halted their 22-match winning streak by winning 12 of the final 13 points down 20-13 in the fourth frame and winning the fifth set to advance to the SAC Tournament title match.
The lone blemish on the SAC slate for the Trojans is a four-set road loss to Wingate on Sept. 28 as the group has reeled off 17 wins over their last 18 outings, nine which have required the minimum three stanzas. Only one team, Nebraska-Kearney's 22, has won more matches that Anderson on the season.
While Anderson is chasing Wingate in the standings, it is also doing so on the stat sheet ranking second in the league in five different categories. A .215 overall hitting clip shrinks to .183 in seven road outings on the year. Foes are posting a .116 mark on the season that ranks 16th in the nation.
Setter Emily Conlin is the class of the league at her position dishing out 11.47 assists per set while racking up 12 double-doubles on the year. She ranks sixth nationally with 0.59 aces per set and third overall with 44. She tallied 53 assists, 29 digs and four aces in the four-set win over the Eagles earlier this year.
Saturday is 45th all-time tussle with Newberry as the Eagles have a 35-10 advantage and a 16-5 hold in home outings. Over the last 12 outings, the two sides have each won six contests as the C-N won in five sets at Eleazer Arena posting 16 aces, the highest total in five years for the program.
The Wolves had dropped four straight matches before reeling in a sweep of Lenoir-Rhyne on Tuesday evening. The team currently has a one-game lead in the win column for the eighth spot, the final to qualify for the SAC Tournament.
Newberry's block continues to be one of the best in country ranking 22nd in the country with 2.28 per set on the year. It is nearly 2.50 in road outings this season with four the last nine overall matches featuring double-digit rejections paced by a 16-block effort in a five-set loss to Catawba on Saturday. In the first meeting, C-N was blocked 14 times.
Three players had at least 10 kills for the Wolves in the first meeting led by Toni-Anne Whitlow's 14. Zoe Dinkins finished with nine kills and had 5.5 total blocks on the night. She is the league's leader in the category with 1.43 per set ranking sixth in the nation. If that figure holds up it would be the highest total by a SAC athlete since Carson-Newman's Nikki James registered 1.64 in 2011.
Both matches will be broadcast on cneagles.com/live starting five minutes before the first serve as the Eagle Sports Network provides the sights and sounds from the hardwood.
- CN -