JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – In the final scheduled home outing of the season, Carson-Newman begins the final week of the South Atlantic Conference regular season with a match against Lincoln Memorial Tuesday night at Holt Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.
Carson-Newman (13-11, 9-8) controls its own destiny this week sitting in fifth place in the conference standings. Three wins would net the Eagles at least the fourth seed and a home match in next week's SAC Tournament.
The Railsplitters are in third and would need to lose the final three for C-N to tie for third. Each team that Franklin's group plays this week are ranked above it in the region rankings as LMU is sixth, Lenoir-Rhyne is fifth and Mars Hill is ninth.
In recent years the all-time series has slanted towards Lincoln Memorial (16-7, 12-5) as it enters Tuesday 49th tussle four of the last five and 11 of the last 16 to stretch out the edge between the two clubs to 31-17. The Eagles have lost two straight meetings in Jefferson City since a five-set victory on Sept. 22, 2015.
When the two clubs squared off in Harrogate on Oct. 9, Carson-Newman won the first set before dropping the final three sets and losing in four despite posting a better hitting percentage and more 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 but the rest of the hitters combined for just 18 kills while making nine hitting errors.
A trio of LMU hitters finished in double figures led by 15 from Lindsey Nartker. Rylee 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.
October has been friendly to the 'Splitters who have won eight of the 10 matches played this month with a five-set home loss to Anderson and four-set defeat to Wingate as the only missteps.
Coach Jenny Michael's group has been extremely efficient of late producing the third-highest hitting percentage in the league at .192. LMU has not failed to hit above .150 since the Eagles limited the group to a .147 margin. Collectively, the unit is hitting .236 during that span with three efforts above .243.
The team excels in serving leading the conference with 1.93 per set to rank 20th in America. Whiteaker and Nartker each average 0.43 for the second-best clip in the league. Each of the last three and four of the last five foes for C-N have produced double-digit aces.
While no individual ranks in the top 10 in the SAC in kills per set, six athletes are registering at least two per set led by Storms and her 2.82. The junior has 10 outings with double-digit kills, all in conference action and is posting 3.60 kills per set with a .265 hitting margin in road affairs on the year.
In the back row, Whiteaker leads a group that is fifth in the league with 19.13 digs per set. The senior is fourth in the nation and second to Ballard's 7.60, in digs per set at 6.92. The school's all-time leader in the category has been in double figures in every match this year with six outings of at least 30.
The match will be broadcast on cneagles.com/live as the Eagle Sports Network provides the sights and sounds from the friendly confines.
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