JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With a raucous crowd behind it, Carson-Newman pulled a stunner against the reigning South Atlantic Conference regular-season champions beating Anderson 25-23, 25-16 and 30-28 Friday night at Holt Fieldhouse.
"It starts from the service line," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "It was one of those nights where we were a high error team from the service line but the serves that were in were very effective. We were very effective hitting our spots and we were able to get them out of system a lot. They weren't able to use their middles which is a strength of theirs."
Entering the night winners of 17 of the last 18, Anderson (21-3, 12-2) registered its second-lowest hitting clip of the season as Carson-Newman (10-8, 6-5) limited the Trojans to a .065 margin. When limiting foes to a hitting clip under .100, Franklin's teams are now 12-0.
After ending its 22-match winning streak in the SAC semifinals in 2017, the Eagles have won back-to-back home outings against the Trojans.
Friday night was the first sweep for the Eagles against the Trojans in the last 12 matches dating back to a straight set win on Oct. 10, 2014 in the Palmetto State.
After trailing for the opening moments, a 5-0 spurt from Anderson gave it an 11-8 advantage. The margin was a deuce at 13-11 when the Eagles ripped off seven of the next nine to take an 18-15 edge. The sides traded 3-0 spurts over a sequence to tie the score at 23. Anderson's 12th attack error of the frame and a kill from Erin Edwards (Midlothian, Va.) capped the opening frame.
The two clubs traded 4-0 spurts to tie the score at five. With the Eagles ahead 8-7, Franklin's group ripped off a massive run, 14-5, to push the bulge to 22-12 prompting a pair of timeouts from Anderson. It was a bulge that C-N would never see be in doubt as Edwards ended the second stanza.
There were 14 ties in the third set as the Trojans overcame a 19-16 deficit by winning four straight and seven of nine overall to go on top 23-21. C-N answered by winning three straight to get to match point. It began a stretch where the Eagles had three match points and the Trojans earned two set points. Each time the opponent staved off those points until a serve error and fittingly a hitting error sealed a win for the Eagles who exhausted all of their substitutions late.
"We talk a lot about just being a volleyball player," Franklin said. "You are going to have to do different things and we do drills to put them in situations to make plays. As it kept creeping along I said let's let the volleyball gods decide this. The good Lord blessed us tonight. We were able to make enough defensive plays."
On the night, Carson-Newman racked up a .213 efficiency with 40 kills, 74 digs, six service aces and 8.5 blocks. Anderson had 38 kills but 28 attack mistakes with 87 digs, five aces and one total block.
Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) led all players as the only individual in double figures with 11 kills for a .360 attack clip adding nine scoops.
Edwards did not make a mistake on the night with nine kills on 23 swings racking up a .391 hitting percentage while adding 1.5 total blocks.
"I kept in mind all of the critiques that coach told me," Edwards said. "He told me to stay along the sideline when I take my approach. It opened up a lot of opportunities for me to hit line, cross and tip. That really helped me."
Emily Conlin racked up her 13th double-double of the year with 32 assists and 18 digs while adding three aces. Jayln Knight finished with a team-high 22 digs.
Regan Duty led coach Todd Hay's group with nine kills but made 11 hitting errors. Liliana Kinder also added nine smashes as well.
The Eagles hit the court again on Saturday for a quick turnaround at a noon first serve against Newberry from Holt Fieldhouse. Broadcast coverage starts on cneagles.com/live as the Eagle Sports Network will provide the sights and sounds.
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