JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Riding its longest winning streak in two years Carson-Newman closes out an eight-match homestand this weekend welcoming South Atlantic Conference programs Coker Friday night at 7 p.m. and 22nd-ranked Wingate Saturday at 2 p.m. inside of Holt Fieldhouse.
Carson-Newman (12-5, 6-4) has won five straight matches, its longest streak since winning six in-a-row during October 2017 while reaching its highest mark over .500 since the 2015 region championship season. The last time the program reeled off seven consecutive wins was from Oct. 10-24, 2015.
"We know that we get back into conference play this weekend," Carson-Newman coach Ashley Tiernan said. "It's not going to be an easy weekend for us. We know that we have to dig back in and and get serious in the gym so that we can dominate this weekend. We are focused on each individual athlete. We took a little bit of recovery time but we got back to full strength Wednesday."
On the record watch, Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, N.C.) will slide into fifth on the career digs list this weekend needing 15 to pass Angelle Hayes. Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) is 12 shy of ninth and 30 away from getting into eighth.
"[Streeter] is starting to take on more of a leadership role on the court," Tiernan said. "She speaks up a little bit more. She asks a lot of questions and I love that. She is so coachable. Anything you ask her to do, she adjusts so quickly. She continues to keep pushing away and she is going to do some awesome stuff for us this year."
Festivities open with a Coker (5-10, 2-9) club that has dropped nine of its last 11 matches since starting the year 3-1. The two wins are four-set triumphs over UNC Pembroke and UVa-Wise as the team has earned a total of five set wins during that string being swept four times.
The Eagles hold a 10-3 all-time lead in the series and a commanding 5-1 advantage in affairs played at Mossy Creek. Coker's only victory in Holt Fieldhouse came on Oct. 28, 2016 in four frames.
When the two sides tangled on Sept 27, C-N racked up a .365 hitting percentage, good for its second-highest in a match this season doing so for the third game in succession, a streak that had not been accomplished since 2008.
Attack percentage continues to elude the Cobras as the club ranks 11th in the league as a team at .143 while foes are bouncing balls at a .212 margin, 223rd in Division II. Coker has hit below .100 as a roster in six matches this season, winning one set along the way.
Emily Everton is the team's top offensive target as she ranks seventh in the SAC in kills per set at 3.07 on the season. The sophomore notched 10 kills and a .304 attack percentage against C-N in the first meeting while the rest of the team tallied 17 with 16 errors.
After knocking USC Aiken from the undefeated ranks last Saturday, C-N will aim to player spoiler to a flawless campaign for Wingate (18-0, 11-0) in the 67th all-time meeting. Coach Shelton Collier's team is one of the four teams in Division II without a blemish tied with Shepherd for the longest winning streak in the nation at 18.
The Bulldogs have won 21 straight regular-season matches since falling in three sets at Anderson on Oct. 26, 2018. In 2019, the squad has 14 sweeps and dropped a total of four frames with no five-set affairs on the ledger.
It is going to be a tall task as the Eagles have dropped each of the last 11 meetings and 36 of the last 37 against the Bulldogs after being swept at Cuddy Arena on Sept. 28. C-N has dropped eight straight matches to top 25 teams since a five-set win over Wingate on the road on Nov. 4, 2014.
Coach Collier's crew ranks in the top 10 in the country in opponent attack percentage, first at .062, blocks per set, second at 2.66, aces per set, sixth at 2.28 and kills per set, seventh at 14.40. Of the eight areas ranked by the NCAA based on average, Wingate leads in all but digs per set where it is third.
Four players average at least two kills per set with five attackers ranked in the top 15 in the league in efficiency led by the conference's leader, Lynnlee Mather's .388.
Both contests this weekend will air on cneagles.com/live courtesy of the Eagle Sports Network for wall-to-wall coverage. Live stats will be available on cneagles.com/livestats.
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