JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Senior day festivities are slated to be held Friday evening for Natalie Harris and Hannah Robertson as the Eagles play host to Catawba at 7 p.m. before wrapping up the weekend against Queens on Saturday at 2 p.m. from Holt Fieldhouse in South Atlantic Conference play.
"They've meant a lot to me in my coaching development," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "It's my first head coaching job. A lot growth needed for me as a leader and those two have been with me every step of the way pushing me. They are the last class to see the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. They were a major part in wanting to contribute to the culture we have now.
"They have been two really selfless players that have taken everything in stride and committed to their teammates in helping grow this thing. They bring the same amount of energy to practice every day. They compete and it's been awesome. I will be forever thankful and never forget them because they are the first class for me that got to be with me the whole way."
Harris has compiled an impressive career as the middle blocker has started 105 of the 115 matches she has played entering this weekend. As a rookie she became the first player in program history to earn the SAC's Freshman of the Year honor helping the team win the Southeast Region Championship. Her 321 kills in 2015 were the most by a freshman since 2003.
The Monroe, N.C. native has 752 kills, 197 blocks and 78 service aces for her career producing 27 double-digit kill efforts and leading the team in blocks on 45 occasions. This season her 0.41 service aces per set are good for second in the league.
Robertson has been one of the mainstays in the back row playing in 67 matches during her career posting 429 digs over four seasons leading the team in the category twice. The Soddy Daisy, Tenn. native has posted a double-digit dig contest on 18 occasions with a career-high 21 coming against Lander on Oct. 13, 2017.
Friday evening will be the 67th all-time meeting with Catawba (7-19, 3-12) as the Eagles trail 37-29 but have won each of the last three and nine of the last 11. Twenty of the first 23 meetings favored the Indians as since 2000, Carson-Newman (11-11, 7-8) is 26-17 in the series.
When the two teams met on Sept. 28, Franklin's crew tallied the 500th win for the program sweeping the Indians as the unit racked up a .235 hitting clip. Erin Edwards (Midlothian, Va,) led all players with 12 kills on the night as she piled up a .556 attack percentage and Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) finished with a double-double of 10 kills and 10 digs piling up a .267 hitting clip.
While the Indians are one of 13 teams without a win at home this year going 0-7, they are 4-8 in true road outings this season having won two of their last three journeys. The group has lost 11 of its last 13 matches and are 4-19 since beginning the season with three wins.
Catawba has the lowest blocks per set average in the conference this season posting 1.26 per game on the year having racked up zero efforts in double digits. In 14 outings of 26, the squad has accumulated four or fewer with a season-high nine coming against Emmanuel back on Aug. 25.
Morgan Hester is the standout on the squad ranking sixth in the league with 8.83 assists per set while piling up the second-most aces, 33. She has 12 double-doubles this year and was limited to her third-lowest assist tally, 19, in the first meeting with the Eagles.
In a young series, the Eagles take on Queens (12-12, 8-9) for the 15th time as each side has won seven. C-N holds the edge in Holt Fieldhouse at 5-3 but lost to the Royals in the SAC Tournament title match in 2017, the last meeting at Mossy Creek.
Queens saw a three-match winning streak come to end in a five-set loss to Lenoir-Rhyne last Saturday as the unit has just three more SAC matches remaining on its schedule compared to five for the Eagles.
The Royals led the nation in digs per set, 21.67, and attacks per set, 43.53. The unit has registered six occasions of triple-digit digs as three players rank in the top 15 of the SAC in digs per set led by Jaycee Jones's 5.60.
No one is getting more swings than Casey Tarvin as her 1,150 attacks rank eighth in the country. She paces the SAC with 3.75 kills per set ranking 46th nationally having piled up double digits in nine straight matches and 20 times overall. Tarvin led all players in the first contest with 19 kills on the day while piling up a team-high 24 digs.
Both tilts will be broadcast on cneagles.com/live with the Eagle Sports Network providing the video and commentary from Holt Fieldhouse.
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