October 10, 2013

Looking to get back on track, volleyball travels to L-R and Brevard

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --  After consecutive losses, the Carson-Newman Eagles (8-8, 3-6) are looking to get back on track as they travel to Lenoir-Rhyne on Friday night for a 7 p.m. first serve and to Brevard Saturday for a noon start time.

Playing in their first midweek match since mid-September, the Eagles took a straight set loss at Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday night. Carson-Newman hit .191 with two digs in the match and was led by junior outside hitter Rachel Harper (Chattanooga, Tenn.), who had 13 kills and nine digs.

"I think Tuesday night, we didn't show up as we would have liked," head coach Shannon Mincey said. "Serve receive and defense was a big issue for our program. One thing we worked on Wednesday in practice was trying to gain back respect from our defense and serve receive."

Harper leads the South Atlantic Conference in kills with 220 and service aces per set with 0.49 per game and ranks third in the league with 3.86 kills per stanza. The outside hitter has double-digit kills in 13 of 15 matches this season, including more than 20 on four occasions.

Junior setter Kristen Pickett (Cleveland, Tenn.) places third in the SAC with 8.97 assists per set this year. Over her last three games, Pickett is averaging 10.41 assists per frame, four kills and almost seven digs.

"Kristen gives so much energy to our program," Mincey said. "It seems like on a daily basis, she does what I ask her to do. I think the setter-coach relationship is imperative for the success of the team. "

Lenoir-Rhyne (8-4, 5-3) has won two straight matches and finds itself fifth in the SAC league standings. The Bears are 4-1 at home this season, but lost their match at Shuford Memorial against Newberry in five sets.

Lenoir-Rhyne has an offense that has committed the third-fewest attack errors in the conference this season for a .209 hitting percentage.

Preseason All-SAC first selection Haley Rhyne leads the team with 3.33 kills per set on a .266 hitting percentage. Senior Kayla Morrow is third in the SAC with a .355 hitting percentage, fourth in blocks per set with 0.82 and fifth in service aces per set with 0.44.

"Lenoir-Rhyne brings some heavy outside hitters," Mincey said. "We are going to have to be prepared for in our blocking to stop their outside defense and offense. They have two dominant outside hitters in our conference that we are going to have to be prepared for Friday night."

Brevard (4-9, 1-8) has lost eight of its last nine and just 1-5 at home this season with its lone home victory coming in the first match of the season against UVA-Wise.

In conference matches this season, the Tornados are hitting just .116, only Coker has a lower percentage in 2013. Overall, Brevard ranks last in blocks with 46 and 11th in digs per set with 11.42. However, the Tornados are third-best in the league with 1.72 service aces per set.  

Senior middle hitter Erin Rollins leads the way with 2.74 kills per set and a team-best .293 hitting percentage. Rollins teams with sophomore outside hitter Fatima Gharachorloo, who has 106 kills with a team-high 364 attempts.

Video is available for the Lenoir-Rhyne match by clicking here with stats here. For live stats of the Brevard match, click here. To stay up to date with the volleyball team, follow @CNathletics on Twitter.