JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Megan Oldenburger notched a career-high 14 kills but Carson-Newman was swept for the first time in 2017 Friday night at Holt Fieldhouse in South Atlantic Conference play as Lenoir-Rhyne won 25-21, 25-16 and 28-26.
"We kind of crumbled from the service line tonight," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin assessed. "We served in at 81 percent – the goal is 92. So their side-out percentage was really high because we didn't put a bunch of pressure on them. If you look at the stat sheet, we won the kills.
"It's one of those things that we just haven't put it all together. We have one [phase] and we lose the other. We had a great meeting afterwards. You could hear the girls talk about 'we have this'. They are willing to grow and how to play for each other, how to play for the team."
For the first time in 2017 Carson-Newman (5-4, 3-3) saw its opponent tally more rejections as Lenoir-Rhyne (6-2, 3-0), ranked 17th in the nation, had a two-block edge with eight.
Two players in the match finished with at least 10 kills, both on the home side of the net. Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) paced all athletes with 14 smashes to go along with nine digs. Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) produced 13 kills on a .333 attack percentage.
16 ties and eight lead changes highlighted the titanic struggle in the first set. Neither team had led by more than two points in the opening stanza when with C-N ahead 17-16, L-R rattled off six of the next eight points to go on top 23-19. The Eagles won back-to-back points before the Bears captured the final two to go on top 1-0.
The second set saw six ties and a bevy of spurts. After the home group had won five straight, the visitors responded with seven of eight to take an 8-6 edge. Carson-Newman fell behind 12-9 before using a 5-0 sequence to take a 14-12 lead. The advantage was 15-14 when Lenoir-Rhyne rattled off 10 unanswered points in a 12-1 stretch to get a set point. The Eagles discarded one chance before Brooke Redmond ended the set with a kill to the back middle of the court.
Lenoir-Rhyne controlled the majority of the third frame leading by as many as five points at 14-9. Three straight rallies in favor of C-N started a heated tussle to the finish. Franklin's squad fought back to tie the score at 22 only to see the Bears get a match point. Oldenburger provided back-to-back kills to get the Eagles their first set point of the match. Jaclyn Denny tied the score with a kill to tie the score at 26 only to see Oldenburger give C-N a second match point with her 14th kill of the night. It was the last point C-N scored as Taylor Prall ended the night with a kill off of an Eagle block.
Carson-Newman finished a season-low one service ace while committing a season-high 12 errors from the line. The Bears had eight service aces with four mistakes.
The Eagles led the conference in opponent attack percentage at .115 but the Bears registered the highest mark at the net with a .210 clip.
A trio of Bears finished the night with double-digit digs led by Ashley Markland's 20 as Jessica Funk handed out 17 assists.
Brooke Redmond notched eight kills and had 15 digs. Jaclyn Denny matched the senior's output with eight smashes in addition to three blocks.
The Eagles are back on the court Saturday evening at 5 p.m. when the Catawba College Catawba Indians visit Mossy Creek for a 5 p.m. first serve. Tune into the Eagle Sports Network for the live broadcast while live stats will be available on cneagles.com/livestats.
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