September 27, 2013

Volleyball falls to nationally ranked Wingate in straight sets

Wingate, N.C. – The Wingate Bulldogs (9-2, 5-0) remained undefeated in conference play with a three-set sweep of the Carson-Newman Eagles (6-6, 1-4) 25-18, 29-27 and 25-22 Friday night at Cuddy Arena.

"Our defense played very well tonight," head coach Shannon Mincey said. "That is something we can build on. Our first set provided too many unforced errors for Wingate."

In the opening stanza, the Eagles stayed close through the first half of the set as the score was tied at 12. However, Wingate, ranked No.14 in the nation, took 13 of the final 19 points to take a 1-0 lead.

Four different Eagle players tallied multiple kills including three from junior outside hitter Rachel Harper (Chattanooga, Tenn.), senior right side Emily Schultz (Atlanta, Ga.) and freshman middle JaLesa Beaver (Katy, Texas).

In a hotly contested second game, Carson-Newman had a set point at 25-24 and 27-26, but Wingate smacked a kill and was the beneficiary of a service error stave off elimination. The Bulldogs won the final three points of the second set to grab a two games to none advantage.

"We seemed to collect ourselves and represent ourselves better in the second set," Mincey said. "We flipped our hitters to provide stronger match-ups and I feel it put us in position to win in the second. Unfortunately, fate left us short with a serving error for set point."

Harper led all players with seven kills in the frame while junior setter Kristen Pickett (Cleveland, Tenn.) dished out 17 assists. Freshman libero Taylor Lowe (Franklin, Tenn.) paced the players with nine digs.

The visiting squad won the first five points of the third set before Wingate began chipping away. The Bulldogs took their first lead of the set 12-11. A 10-2 run ensued and the home team was able to complete the sweep.

The Eagles recorded three blocks in the third set. Beaver and junior outside hitter Lauren Santarelli (Colorado Spring, Colo.) each notched a pair of block assists. Schultz pounded out four kills.

Harper tallied her eighth double-double of the season as she finished with 11 kills and 12 digs. Schultz had 10 kills and two block assists.

Pickett picked up her second double-double of the year as she handed out a game-high 33 assists to go along with 14 digs and six kills.

Wingate saw three players finish with double-digit digs, but only one player with double figures in kills. Anna Hilton (15), Iris Brewer (18) and Stephanie Tassone (10) had 43 of the 61 digs for the Bulldogs. Susie Murach had ten kills as the Eagles held Wingate under its season average with a .217 hitting percentage.

"I told the team this is the most unified I've seen them play," Mincey said. "I want them to carry that into tomorrow."

Carson-Newman completes a four game road trip Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Coker. For the best coverage follow @CNathletics on Twitter or visit cneagles.com.