JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Megan Oldenburger posted a season-high 18 kills while hitting .357 with 17 digs and a career-high four aces leading Carson-Newman to a comeback four-set victory over Catawba 16-25, 25-20, 25-17 and 25-21 Friday evening at Holt Fieldhouse.
"We're making a shift in mentality," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "We had to start to learn to swing at it a lot more. We did it but we were a little tentative with it and had some errors. Give Catawba credit they passed it well. We had to pick up our defensive intensity.
"We took big swings all night. If we are able to take big swings and kill balls, we are going to make runs with our serve. Over time as we started swinging we were able to make our runs."
After a sluggish start that saw the Eagles record seven kills and five errors in the first, Carson-Newman (12-11, 8-8) finished the match with 41 kills and just 11 misfires.
Catawba (7-20, 3-13) continues its woes having lost 12 of the last 14 matches as the Eagles win for the fourth straight meeting and 10th time in the last 12 against the Indians.
In the opening set, the Eagles allowed 12 points on errors including five attack misfires and allowing five aces. After trading points to open the game, the Indians used two 5-0 spurts and an 11-1 sequence to go on top 12-2. C-N had two 3-0 sequences but could never close the gap as a kill from Allie Grubb put the visitors ahead 1-0.
In the second stanza, Franklin's flock found its rhythm hitting .375 with 13 kills behind six from Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) on 10 swings. Catawba won four of the first five and held a 9-7 advantage when the Eagles won six straight to take the lead. Despite a 5-1 sequence that helped the Indians close the gap to one twice, C-N won five in-a-row to turn a 19-18 lead into a 24-18 difference. A service error tied the match at one.
Catawba once again got off to a quick start winning four of the first five an holding an 11-8 edge in the third. C-N responded by winning seven straight and closing out the contest with 17 of the final 23 points. The Indians were limited to a minus-.027 margin in the set.
C-N ignited the fourth frame with a 6-0 start to take control but Catawba had a run to get with two at 14-12. The Eagles answered by rattling off eight of 11 to go on top 22-15. A 6-0 surge from the visitors pulled the Indians within one at 22-21 before watching the Eagles win the final three closing it out on a kill from Oldenburger.
Overall, C-N posteed a .222 hitting clip with 48 kills, 69 digs, 12 rejections and eight aces while Catawba had a .109 margin, 42 smashes, 72 scoops, 12 aces and four blocks.
"I think the mindset we had was to go up and kill it," Streeter said. "We have some of the best hitters. They all have arms that can go up and kill it. In volleyball in order to win we have to swing and get kills. Being aggressive and getting kills got it done."
In the back row, Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, N.C.) finished with 27 digs and three aces. The setting combo of Madison Rademacher (Broomfield, Colo.) and Taylor Rohr (Windsor, Colo.) finished with 19 assists and nine digs and 18 and seven respectively.
Allie Grubb was the lone player in double figures for the visitors finishing with 11 on a .321 hitting clip. Four players finished in double digits in digs.
Morgan Hester stuffed the stat sheet with 30 assists, 18 digs, five kills and four services for Catwaba.
The Eagles get back to work on Saturday afternoon against Queens from Holt Fieldhouse. First serve is slated for 2 p.m. with action available on cnealges.com/live from the Eagle Sports Network.
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