JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Riding a three-match winning streak, Carson-Newman concludes a seven-match road trip to open 2017 with a journey to Newberry Friday night at 7 p.m. and a trek to Coker Saturday at 2 p.m. in South Atlantic Conference action.
"We keep talking about getting on the edge of our ability – get a little better each week," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin stated. "We keep looking at our standards that we know are going to lead to victories. Some of them we are meeting. Some of them we are just shy of. We are keeping that in perspective and trying to get a little better each week. If we can improve upon last weekend and play at a little higher level, I think we walk out with two victories."
Two wins this weekend would mark just the third time in program history that the Eagles have begun a season with six wins in the first seven matches. The best start belongs the 2007 team that opened the campaign 13-0. In 2015, the eventual region champs started the season 8-1.
A pair of triumphs would also be just the fourth time the school has started a year with four straight wins in SAC play. The 2002 team holds the record for most conference wins without a loss at 9-0. In 2014, Carson-Newman (4-1, 2-0) went 7-0 and in 2015 the club went 7-0 out of the gates.
In a series that dates back to 1997, C-N holds a 33-9 all-time advantage against Newberry (4-3) despite winning just four of the last nine meetings. After winning both matches in 2016, the Wolves look to match their longest winning streak against the Eagles in the series as Newberry won three straight five-set matches from 2012-13.
L-R and Newberry were separated by four points for fifth and sixth respectively. The Wolves did not place an athlete on the preseason all-conference teams and are under the guidance of first-time head coach Callie Youngman.
In the early portions of the year, Newberry is second in the league as a team in digs per set at 19.87 partially due to an ineffective block that is 10th in the league with 1.43 rejections per set.
Sophomore Sidra Triplett paces the group at the net with 2.74 kills per set, 12th in the league, while hitting .301.
The series with Coker is one that spans back to 2013. C-N had lost just two sets in the first six meetings before losing in five and four sets respectively to the Cobras in 2016.
Coker (4-5, 0-2) received just 13 total votes and were projected for a last-place finish in 2017 after going 5-17 in league action last season. Christen Bragg is a senior this year after compiling a pair of triple-doubles in 2016 including inside of Holt Fieldhouse on Oct. 28 when she posted 28 assists, 16 digs and 12 kills.
The Cobras rank towards the bottom of the conference offensively with 11.06 kills per frame while hitting .135, the second-lowest mark in the SAC.
Sophomore Taylor Du Bray has three matches with at least 10 kills including a season-high 18 on a .314 attack percentage Tuesday night at Queens (N.C.) while recording a double-double for the third time with 13 digs.
Three players rank in the top 15 of the league in digs per set led by Kara Overholt's 4.44, ninth in the SAC.
Newberry will provide video and live stats for Friday evening's affair and fans can lock into @CNathletics on Twitter for the latest news, notes and coverage of the team on their play over the weekend.
- CN -