WINGATE, N.C. – Holding leads in the latter portions of the first two sets, Carson-Newman hit lulls at the wrong time watching No. 24 Wingate toppled the Eagles in straight sets 23-25, 20-25 and 17-25 Saturday afternoon at Cuddy Arena in South Atlantic Conference play.
"I am happy with how our team competed today in a tough environment," Carson-Newman coach Dave Franklin said. "We served solidly and took great swings offensively. Wingate brought it defensively and found ways to dig everything that we threw at them. Our team has grown a ton in all aspects and I look forward to reviewing the film and growing as a coach on how to develop our defense to this elite level.
"The path and trajectory of our team is awesome and I look forward to a couple weeks without a Tuesday match where we can train and grow."
Carson-Newman (7-4, 5-3) has now dropped each of the last 11 meetings and 36 of the last 37 against Wingate (14-0, 8-0) as the Bulldogs extend their winning streak over SAC schools at home to 55. The Eagles have lost eight in-a-row against top 25 schools while the Bulldogs stretch their nation-leading home winning streak to 46 contests.
After racking up 14 kills and one error in the first set, the Eagles were limited to 16 kills and seven errors in the final two. Overall, C-N posted a .193 hitting percentage on 30 kills with 51 digs, three aces and two blocks.
Few matches in the league have featured a first set like the opening game in this match as Wingate posted a .419 hitting clip and C-N hit .371 combining for four mistakes. The Eagles drew first blood winning seven of the first 10 points but fell behind 19-15. An 8-3 sequence by the visitors propelled Franklin's unit to a 23-22 edge only to drop the final three rallies.
In the second stanza, Wingate held the lead almost throughout the set including at 19-15 but the Eagles found a burst winning five straight points and go ahead 20-19. A six-point drought cost C-N the second set with Sophie Schaff notching a kill to give the 'Dogs a 2-0 advantage.
Leading by a point in the third, Wingate rattled off six straight points to push the differential to 13-7. C-N could never quite gain its footing watching Marianna Warren blast a kill to the ground and clinch the match. The Eagles had six kills and three errors in the game.
The Bulldogs racked up 52 total kills on the day blasting a .350 hitting percentage adding 72 digs, four aces and two total rejections.
Schaff led all players with 14 kills while Warren added 10 in the match making a total of four mistakes on 43 swings. Rachel Alles stuffed the stat sheet with 25 assists, 24 digs and five kills. Shannon Kasprak added 16 assists and nine digs.
The Eagles open up an eight-match homestand starting on Friday night at 7 p.m. with a contest against Queens. All contests will be streamed on cneagles.com/live by the Eagle Sports Network.
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