MARS HILL, N.C. – Morgan Ballard established a new South Atlantic Conference record with 58 digs in a match as Carson-Newman fought off Mars Hill in four sets 25-23, 25-14, 15-25 and 25-20 at Stanford Arena Saturday afternoon.
The previous league mark was set by Jenny Young of Catawba versus Tusculum on Sept. 17, 2011 in a five-set outing. Caitlyn Dean held the mark for a SAC athlete in a four-set affair when she racked up 47 for the Pioneers against Anderson (S.C.) on Oct. 27, 2012.
The career-high for the sophomore surpassed her previous high water mark of 22 while resetting C-N's record of 46 set by Taylor Lowe in the season finale of 2016.
As a team, Carson-Newman (4-1, 2-0) picked up 125 total scoops falling shy of the program record of 138 set in the 2015 NCAA Southeast Region Championship match.
"A road conference win was the goal and we accomplished that today," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin explained. "While our execution was not where it was last night, our energy and competitive spirit were and it allowed us to pull out a win. Our team has worked their tails off and put energy into the right things. Results are starting to come from their efforts. It is a lot of fun to coach a group of selfless athletes who are as committed as the 18 we have.
Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) pummeled 22 kills while hitting .231 on the day marking the second straight match with 20 or more kills.
For a second consecutive match, Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) tallied a double-double with 11 kills and 12 digs.
Anna Patton (Franklin, Tenn.) brought her career total assists to 2,402 moving into fourth place on the program's all-time helper list passing Sherry Trimble's mark of 2,386 with 16 digs and 14 assists.
Mars Hill (1-4, 0-2) has won just six of the last 38 meetings and C-N avoids losing back-to-back meetings with the Lions for the first time since 2012.
After falling behind 2-1 in the opening stanza, Mars Hill rattled off seven of the next eight to take control at 8-3. Mars Hill bounced back to take an 11-10 lead after three straight points. The deficit was three points when C-N won six straight points to take a 19-16 edge. A combo block by Alex Biro (Ootlewah, Tenn.) and Kendall Cooley (Castle Rock, Colo.) capped the set.
The Eagles reeled off seven of the first eight points in the second stanza. It was an advantage that Mars Hill never threatened as Natalie Harris (Monroe, N.C.) provided the set-clinching smash.
The visitors led 1-0 in the third but never saw the lead again. A 7-0 run pushed a one-point edge to an eight-point lead. Sally Anne Johnson kept the Lions alive with a kill.
Franklin's bunch took a 4-0 lead in the fourth set. The Lions bounced back to take a lead at 15-14. Four straight points by C-N provided the separation and Streeter sealed the deal with a kill down the line.
Johnson was the lone Lion in double-digits in kills with 11. Sarah Pasour notched a double-double with 17 assists and 11 digs. Elizabeth Kaeser paced the team with 32 scoops.
"It's back to work on Monday," Franklin said. "The goal is to get back on the edge of our abilities and get better for two more tough road conference matches."
The Eagles take the midweek off before concluding a seven-match road trip to start 2017 with visits to Newberry and Coker starting Friday evening at 7 p.m.
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