Late wins not enough as Eagles drop two matches at home

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – A shutout loss to Stevenson and a close one-flight decision to Lincoln Memorial gave Carson-Newman a pair of losses to start its second-straight weekend of home action on Saturday at the C-N Sand Courts.

The Eagles (2-16) had seen Stevenson (5-7) one other time this season before Saturday. The last meeting resulted in a 3-2 loss to the Mustangs at the Principia College Beach Bash on March 1. C-N now sits at 0-2 against Stevenson this season.

As for the later match, it marked the first time this season the Orange and Blue tussled with Lincoln Memorial (3-5), falling in a tough 3-2 decision to the Railsplitters.

"Another solid day for our team," Director of Beach Volleyball David Franklin said. "I am proud of the changes we have made in a short amount of time, but we are on a journey to become the best of which we are capable and today was just another step towards learning what it takes to reach that."

Kelly Hughes and Aryana Fazelnia improved their record when playing as the three-seed to 6-6 while Summer Coulter and Abby Struewing now sit at 4-12 overall as the top-seeded pairing. Both duos were the only ones to get wins for the Eagles on Saturday.

Match 1: Stevenson 5, C-N 0

Dilyn Palmer and Taryn Nichols kicked off the weekend at the No. 5 seed with a pair of losses to the Stevenson duo of Victoria Prokic and Julie Nightwine 21-8, 21-15.

At the No. 4 spot, Montgomery Sauter and Lauren Williams brought a swift fight to the table but were unable to defeat the Mustangs' group. Sauter and Williams both brought each set within two, but ultimately lost 21-19, 22-20 to Mackenzie Blevins and Sarah Riggin.

Kelly Hughes and Aryana Fazelnia competed against Stevenson's Katie Leftridge and Emily Pellini at the No. 3 position. The Eagles duo lost the first set 21-15 before a similar result in the second set 21-18. This match brought Stevenson's overall score to a winning 3-0.

The No. 2 flight sat C-N's Grace Seymour and Morgan Siwiec against Emily Castro and Caroline Dangel. The Stevenson pair defeated the Eagles in the first set 21-13, but Seymour and Siwiec turned the match around and won the second set 21-19 to force a third. Stevenson rapidly took the deciding set, 15-4.

The No. 1 grouping of Summer Coulter and Abby Struewing brought another tie-breaking finish. The C-N tandem took the first set in an easy 21-14 win but faced adversity in the second set in the form of extra points. The Mustangs took the high-scoring second set, 26-24. Darian Hileman and Piper Conners won the third set 15-11 to give Stevenson a 5-0 win over the Eagles.

Match 2: LMU 3, C-N 2

Palmer and Nichols fell at the No. 5 spot in back-to-back 21-13 sets to the Railsplitters' pair Brooke Taylor and Abby Higgins.

The No. 4 pairing of Sauter and Williams pushed the first set into extra points to gain a 23-21 victory over Caitlin Bethel and Emily Walter. LMU's duo brought the heat in the second set 21-11, forcing a tie-breaking third set which it won 15-9.

Hughes and Fazlenia lost the first set of the three-seed matchup, 21-16, to Sarah Jones and Kai Wesemann. The C-N tandem rallied through the rest of the match to win the second and third sets 21-15, 15-9. This win put C-N on the board for the day, trailing LMU by one match, 2-1.

At the No. 2 seed, Grace Seymour and Morgan Siwiec lost in consecutive sets 21-16, 21-12 to Rylee Storms and Lindsey Nartker, extending the LMU lead to 3-1.

The final win of the day for C-N came from the top-seeded paring. Coulter and Struewing crushed Danielle Statchura and Danielle Ged in the first set 21-12. The Railsplitters came back with a tough fight to win the second set 22-20, but the match fell in favor of Coulter and Struewing in a close third set finish, 15-13.

"Our young team is learning winning habits and standards through practice. We are excited to see if we can apply lessons learned today and improve tomorrow," Franklin said.

The Eagles are at the C-N Sand Courts again on Sunday to close out the home schedule. Their match against Stevenson will begin at 9 a.m. with the face-off against Lincoln Memorial headlining the nightcap at 3 p.m.