C-N secures Peach Belt sweep toppling Lander

VIDEO: Match Highlights

VIDEO: Ashley Tiernan Interview

VIDEO: Elena Vasquez Interviews Erin Edwards

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the first time in the six-year history of the South Atlantic Conference versus Peach Belt Conference Crossover, Carson-Newman walks away 4-0 taking down Lander in four frames Saturday evening at Holt Fieldhouse 20-25, 25-18, 25-23 and 25-14.

"We just wanted to battle together," Carson-Newman coach Ashley Tiernan said. "We continued to talk about that in the huddle that we needed to unite together, we need to communicate and make sure that we were just there for each other.

"This group is a very special group of young women. They are phenomenal human beings. We could talk all day long about how amazing these girls are and how their futures are going to be full of important things in life. This weekend was huge from a region standpoint but we have to get back into conference next week and that's what we are going to focus on."

Carson-Newman (12-5) has won five straight matches, its longest streak since winning six in-a-row during October 2017 while reaching its highest mark over .500 since the 2015 region championship season. The Eagles improve to 7-2 at home all-time against Lander (13-6).

Megan Oldenburger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) led the way for the Eagles with 16 kills and 15 digs. Joy Rhodes (Youngsville, N.C.) came off of the bench to pound out 11 kills on a .333 hitting percentage.

Erin Edwards was not far behind with nine smashes and a .450 margin. Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) added nine kills and a dozen digs.

"It is a lot of excitement," Edwards said. "I can't scream into the microphone but that is how we are feeling. We came in with confidence. We didn't play scared and honestly it worked out in our favor."

Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, N.C.) gobbled up 21 digs and picked up three service aces. Taylor Rohr (Windsor, Colo.) and Elena Vasquez (Riverside, Calif.) dished out 23 and 21 assists respectively.

As a team, C-N finished with 50 kills pounding out a .268 attack percentage with 11.5 rejections, 62 digs and 10 service aces. Overall the team raised its team hitting clip by nearly 20 points this weekend to .212.

After leaping out to a 5-2 lead, C-N yielded 14 of the next 18 to dig itself a 16-9 hole in the first set. It was too big of a deficit as Lander was able to maintain its bulge and capture the opening game.

Six ties highlighted the opening 16 rallies before the Bearcats found their stroke to the tune of a 5-1 burst to go ahead 13-9. The Eagles quickly answered reeling off five straight and 11 of the next 13 to go ahead 20-15 tying the match on a blast from Oldenburger.

Carson-Newman won four of the first six in the third before giving up four unanswered points. The differential reached five at 20-15 before the Eagles came racing back to win 10 of the final 13 points to win the game on an attack error by Kyra Ross.

Lander won the first four points of the fourth game but watched as the Eagles won 11 of the next 14 to take an 11-7 lead. It was an advantage that the home group would never relinquish coasting the rest of the way to win on a block by the C-N front line.

Ross paced the effort for the Bearcats with 15 kills and 12 digs. Madilyn Reed added a double-double with 30 assists, 10 digs and four kills. Deona Mims racked up 11 kills and Hannah McManus tallied 21 scoops.

The Eagles will look to continue their winning streak with another home match on tap Friday night against Coker starting at 7 p.m. Broadcast coverage can be found on cneagles.com/live courtesy of the Eagle Sports Network.

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