HARROGATE, TN -- After winning two games in a row, the Carson-Newman Eagles (8-8, 3-6) have dropped back-to-back matches after falling to the Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters (11-6, 7-2) 25-22, 25-20 and 25-19 Tuesday evening at Mars Gym.
The Eagles battled in the first set. Trailing by as many as seven points, the visiting club went on several runs, including a 6-2 spurt that evened the game at 18 on a service ace by junior outside hitter Lauren Santarelli (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Lincoln Memorial reeled off three consecutive points to pull away and earn a first set victory.
The second frame was a tighter contest at the beginning until the Railsplitters pulled away toward the end of the set. An attack error by Lincoln Memorial tied the contest at four, but the home side won ten of the next 14 points to gain a separation that Carson-Newman was unable to close.
In the third stanza, the Eagles surged out to a 9-7 advantage on a kill by Santarelli. Lincoln Memorial responded with a 5-0 run. Despite hitting .267, Carson-Newman never pulled closer than two points the rest of the way in a set that saw five ties and four lead changes.
Harper led all players with 13 kills as she finished just shy of her tenth double-double of the year with nine kills. Junior setter Kristen Pickett (Cleveland, Tenn.) finished with a game-high 32 assists, five kills and five digs.
Lowe compiled 20 digs, her first match with 20 or more scoops since she tallied 23 against Wingate on September 27, a string of five contests.
Schultz hit .318 as she cranked out nine kills. It marks the fourth time in five matches that the senior has tallied at least nine kills.
Santarelli and O'Neal each finished with seven kills. For O'Neal, it was the most kills that she has accumulated since a nine kill output at Anderson (S.C.) on September 21. After missing eight of the first nine affairs of the year, Santarelli is hitting .217 and has at least seven kills in all but two matches this year.
The Eagles will have a couple days until they hit the road again this weekend venturing to Lenoir-Rhyne for a 7 p.m. first serve on Friday and a noon start time Saturday at Brevard.