JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With the first half of league play in the books, Carson-Newman steps away from South Atlantic Conference action to face four Peach Belt Conference opponents in the Palmetto State.
In Greenwood, Carson-Newman (7-8) will face Lander (9-5) at noon on Friday and Georgia College (8-3) at 4 p.m. later in the day. The Eagles shuffle over to Aiken to compete against USC Aiken (14-2) at noon and Augusta (10-7) at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
"With a young team we are still learning what this level is for a lot of them and figuring out what are the demands," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "How good do I have to be? How much pressure is there going to be on me? I think the barometer for them is learning where is the level that I'm at and where is the level I'm heading. We have yet to face a team that I thought we were completely out-talented."
Franklin's group hosted the quartet of schools at Holt Fieldhouse in 2016 going 1-3 against the field in the SAC/PBC Crossover.
Lander and C-N meet for the third straight season and 13th time overall as the Eagles have controlled the series to the tune of a 9-3 mark. The Bearcats had lost three straight meetings before picking up a sweep at Holt Fieldhouse in 2016.
Carson-Newman finished the Oct. 14 match with a .055 hitting percentage with 61 digs, seven blocks and four service aces. Lander wrapped up the contest with a .190 attack percentage, 82 digs, six service aces and five rejections.
Lander won nine of its first 10 posting a 6-1 record in neutral site contests but has lost its last four contests dating back to a four-set win over Francis Marion on Sept. 16, 34 days ago.
Coach Ashley White's team ranks fourth in the nation in digs per set with just over 20 per contest but has been one of the weakest service teams in the country recording 0.95 per frame, 16th-worst in Division II.
Reyonia Whipple has provided stability at the net ranking seventh in the United States with 1.31 blocks per set and 21st in attack percentage at .376. Hannah McManus ranks eighth with 6.20 digs per set.
2016 was the first and only time that C-N faced off against Georgia College as the Bobcats won the match in four sets. Middle blocker Alex Biro (Ootlewah, Tenn.) added 12 kills and five blocks to become the first Eagle this season with five rejections.
Georgia College has won five of its last six matches with three sweeps in that span as Friday marks the first neutral site outing of the year for the program.
The Bobcats have been the second-best team in the league at putting the ball on the ground averaging 12.89 kills per set as three players rank inside of the top 10. Ebony Powers leads the team with 3.24 per game while Taylor Svehla and Libby Bochniak registers 2.79 on average.
Svehla led all players with 22 kills while hitting .400 to go along with 3.5 blocks in the 2016 match between the two programs.
The Eagles have not won a set against USC Aiken since sweeping the Pacers in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Playoffs. Aiken holds a 6-4 overall lead in the all-time series.
Carson-Newman accumulated a .206 hitting percentage with 40 digs, six blocks and two service aces while USC Aiken notched a .286 attack clip with 45 digs, seven aces and two rejections.
USC Aiken lost its first two matches of the year to West Florida and Wheeling Jesuit but has won 14 straight matches losing a total of seven sets in that span.
The Pacers lead the PBC in six seperate categories ranking 12th nationally in opponent hitting percentage with a .112 mark. On its side of the net, Aiken posts 13.80 kills per set while hitting .220.
As a unit the Pacers are balanced as Rebecca Martinez and Emily Teelon are the only players that lead the league in an individual statistic. Martinez is notching 6.49 digs per set, sixth in the nation, and Teelon has 27 service aces.
The Jaguars have lost eight of the 11 meetings with the Eagles all-time and have won just once in the last nine meetings, a sweep at home on Sept. 13, 2014.
Carson-Newman (3-14) racked up 17.5 blocks tallying its most rejections since recording 19 against Newberry on Oct. 22, 2011.
Abbie McFarlane (McKinney, Texas) and Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) are the first duo of Eagles to rack up 20 kills each in the same match since Nov. 12, 2010 when Carly Mozgai had 29 and Nikki James had 21 against Catawba.
Augusta is no stranger to playing neutral site outings holding a 5-2 record in those meetings. Overall, the program has lost three straight matches entering play this weekend.
The Jaguars are in the top five in the league in every single category with a block hovering around the top at 1.92 per set while hitting just shy of .200 on the year.
All of the coverage over the weekend can be found by following @CNathletics on Twitter for the links to live stats during the weekend play in South Carolina.
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