September 19, 2013

Volleyball travels to Newberry and Anderson

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles (6-3, 1-1) begin a four game stretch of road games this weekend with a trip to Newberry (6-1, 1-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. and to Anderson (1-5, 1-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m.

"This weekend is very important for us," head coach Shannon Mincey said. "We are trying to vie for a conference position. We had a low preseason rank we want to fight for that and get ourselves back into the top five after this weekend and then shoot for top three."

The Eagles are riding a three game winning streak and are coming off of their first South Atlantic Conference victory by sweeping Mars Hill Tuesday evening.

Carson-Newman hit .245 in the match with 11 service aces and saw six players finish with more than three kills and five athletes notch more than five digs.

"We have focused a lot on everyone learning a lot of different positions," Mincey said of her team's depth. "I feel very comfortable pulling a lot of people off of the bench this year. I focus on every night there's a certain puzzle and the pieces have to fit to make that puzzle complete. Our players are doing a nice job of understanding that it's not about them, it's more of us as a team. "

Junior outside hitter Rachel Harper (Chattanooga, Tenn.) recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 12 digs. Junior setter Kristen Pickett (Cleveland, Tenn.) set a new career-high with seven kills and a .600 hitting percentage while dishing out 30 assists.

In 2012, Carson-Newman and Newberry split the two meetings with the road team winning each match. The Wolves are third in the SAC with 55 team blocks, one behind the Eagles. Newberry leads the conference with 12.76 kills per set.

Head coach Todd Hay's club is led by senior outside hitter Samantha Parrish. The Angola, Ind. native ranks third in the SAC with 3.68 kills per set on 92 total smashes. Parrish was a first team All-SAC selection in 2012 after back-to-back season of being placed on the second team.

Sophomore setter Rachel Moran is third in the conference with 9.29 assists per set while junior defensive specialist Elayni Stokes has 4.56 digs per set, good for fifth most in the SAC.

Anderson swept both matches against Carson-Newman last year. Picked to finish 10th in the SAC this season, the Trojans are 11th in attack percentage (.154) averaging a conference-worst 9.79 kills per set.

Preseason second team All-SAC selection Shannon Gillespie has averaged 3.29 kills per set in 2013, the fifth most in the conference. The 2012 second team All-SAC honoree has 290 attacks this season, ranking behind only Harper for most attempts.

For additional coverage, follow @CNathletics on Twitter or visit cneagles.com.