GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Seemingly facing deficits throughout the night, Carson-Newman found big bursts late to overcome a sluggish start to take down Tusculum 15-25, 29-27, 25-14 and 28-26 in South Atlantic Conference action Saturday evening at Pioneer Arena.
"We struggled finding rhythm in the first set and halfway through the second set," Carson-Newman coach Ashley Tiernan said. "Some mental errors on our part put us behind at big moments. What kept us moving forward was our focus and composure and I am proud of this team for staying disciplined when we needed it the most."
Carson-Newman (19-6, 13-5) sweeps the season series with Tusculum (12-12, 9-9) for the first time since 2015 and just the second time since 2003 as the Eagles have won five of the last seven overall outings with the Pioneers.
On the evening, Tiernan's troops posted 56 kills on a .199 hitting percentage with 70 digs, nine blocks and eight aces versus 50 smashes, a .162 margin, 66 digs, 11 blocks and five aces for Tusculum.
Carson-Newman was blocked five times and committed 10 attack errors in the opening game as a 7-1 run broke a 3-3 tie and provided plenty of pad for the home crew. The deficit reached double figures at 22-10 behind a 6-0 sequence to give the early edge in the match.
The Eagles pounded out 21 kills in a back and forth second stanza. There was only one lead greater than two points after a 9-6 C-N lead when the team pulled ahead 22-19 only to drop four straight. Following haymakers from both sides, back-to-back kills from Edwards sealed the second for the visitors.
In the third set, the two sides were deadlocked at nine when the Eagles got hot rattling off 11 of the next 12 to push the bulge to double figures. A block from Kaina Roehrkasse (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Kendall Cooley (Castle Rock, Colo.) put a cap to a set win.
On the ropes in the fourth down 20-15, C-N found a surge ripping off eight of 11 to tie the score at 23 on a kill from Cooley. After failing on its first two match points, an ace from Ballard put the finish touches on a four-set triumph.
No player for the Pioneers finished in double figures in kills but seven had at least six on the night led by Emiah Burrowes' nine. She made 10 attack errors however chipping in a team-high 16 digs. Elise Carmichael and Alyssa Rojas dished out 21 and 20 assists respectively.
The Eagles begin their final home week of the regular season starting Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against Mars Hill inside of Holt Fieldhouse. Broadcast coverage will air on cneagles.com/live with video on the Eagle Sports Network.
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