Lions lash out, upend Eagles in four frames

Box Score (PDF)

MARS HILL, N.C. – In a match filled with hitting errors, Carson-Newman seized control early but let the advantage slip through its grasp in its first road South Atlantic Conference test of the season losing 25-20, 27-29, 23-25 and 20-25 Tuesday evening at Chambers Gym.

"Unfortunately I was not able to have our girls ready to play tonight," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "Give lots of credit to Mars Hill. They executed really well and kept the pressure on us all night. I felt our competitive spirit and ability to play through rough patches was awesome and can serve us well in the future. However, we must also learn to execute from the get-go and not from behind. We have to have a short memory and move onto the next match."

Carson-Newman (4-2, 2-1) had won back-to-back visits to Chambers Gym losing to Mars Hill (2-4, 1-2) on the road for the first time since 2016. This was the first time on the year that the Lions played a match that last longer than three sets.

In the last three-plus years, the Eagles had been 32-14 entering Tuesday's affair when winning the first set. After hitting above .200 in three straight matches, Franklin's squad was limited to a .069 clip with 42 kills, 112 digs, 11 blocks and eight aces.

The Lions piled up a whopping 124 scoops registering 54 kills despite making 33 hitting errors posting a .097 hitting margin to go along with six blocks and six aces.

It spoils another eye-popping night from Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). The junior matched her career high with 28 digs adding a team-high 13 kills. No one else reached double figures with Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) finished with nine.

Each C-N setter also posted double-doubles with Elena Vasquez (Riverside, Calif.) piling up 16 assists and 15 digs. Madison Rademacher (Broomfield, Colo.) tacked on 12 and 13 respectively. Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, N.C.) led the back row with 28 digs.

It was a first set that featured 10 ties but C-N trailed only one time. Mars Hill used a 3-0 quick burst to go on top 20-19. Following a Franklin timeout, the Eagles came out swinging winning the final six points to seal the set. Streeter paved the way with a match-high six smashes.

The third set proved to be the first this season that required more than the required amount of points to win. Despite trailing for much of the frame, C-N found a 5-0 surge to jump ahead 18-13. It maintained that edge to three set points. With a 24-21 edge, the Eagles conceded four in-a-row to fall behind 25-24. Franklin's crew never led again dispatching of three set points before Sally Anne Johnson produced a kill to even the match.

Mars Hill's momentum carried into the third set with the team surging to a 13-5 lead. Carson-Newman found its footing racing back with bulk runs to close the gap to 24-23 and force a timeout from the home side. Out of the break, the Eagles made an attack error to put themselves into a 2-1 hole in the match.

After taking the first two points of the fourth, the Eagles allowed five straight to dig a hole where the team could never dig out of. The deficit swelled to nine at 20-11. The visitors did not go quietly getting the margin to two at 22-20 only to allow the final three points to seal the contest for Mars Hill.

Four Lions finished in double figures in kills on the night led by 14 from Johnson. Grace Lilly accumulated 12 kills and 18 digs and Lauren Phillips had 11 and 29 respectively. Sarah Goddard chipped in 11.

Ully Martins gobbled up 33 digs out of the back row. Jordan Schmucker ended the affair with 23 assists and 19 digs while her setting partner Sara Pasour added 25 and 13 of each.

The Eagles are back on the road this weekend starting on Friday night with a 7 p.m. matchup with Anderson before heading to Newberry on Saturday for a 2 p.m. start time.

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