Offense fuels home wins mark in sweep of Lions

Offense fuels home wins mark in sweep of Lions

VIDEO: Match Highlights

VIDEO: Ashley Tiernan Interview

VIDEO: Morgan Ballard Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Producing its highest kill total in a three-set match in 2019, Carson-Newman reset the program record for home wins in a year sweeping Mars Hill 25-21, 25-20 and 25-15 Tuesday evening at Holt Fieldhouse in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament Quarterfinals.

"We worked on making sure that we had a big shot arsenal for all of our attackers," Carson-Newman coach Ashley Tiernan said. "Both of our middles killed it. With both of them on and our right sides on, our outsides always kill it. We attacked them and we did the things that we needed to do to take away the win."

The victory pushed the Eagles to 14-2 at home on the year passing the prior school record for victories in a year of 13 set by the 31-win 2002 club that posted the highest total wins in a season.

Carson-Newman (23-7) racked up 49 digs, its most in a three-set match since pounding out 58 in a sweep at Lander on Oct. 10, 2015. Five different players notched at least six kills on the night.

Marnie Streeter (Goldvein, Va.) paced the charge with 14 making just one miscue with a .361 hitting percentage adding nine digs. Not far behind, Erin Edwards (Midlothian, Va.) hammered out 11 smashes with a .381 clip to her ledger.

Taylor Rohr (Windsor, Colo.) handed out 20 assists and Elena Vasquez (Riverside, Calif.) posted 17 helpers with nine digs. Morgan Ballard (Weaverville, N.C.) led all players with 21 scoops.

"When I committed to Carson-Newman I took a picture on this floor and my dad asked me 'how awesome would it be to play your last match on this floor?'" Ballard said. "I can honestly say that it feels great and for the rest of the seniors. Not only was it a great win on our home floor but it was our 15th sweep of the season which is really cool. It says that this team is something special. I love this team so much with all of my heart."

Overall the Eagles posted a .303 hitting margin with 57 digs, eight aces and 7.5 blocks compared to 25 kills, a .143 hitting clip, 45 digs and four rejections by Mars Hill (15-15). It pushed C-N to a 5-4 lead over the Lions all-time in SAC Tournament tussles.

After the Lions won the opening rally of the night, the Eagles ripped off 11 of the next 14 to take a seven-point lead. Mars Hill responded with aplomb reeling off a 12-4 run to take a 16-15 lead. With the margin tied at 17, the Eagles used a 7-3 run to take control winning the set on a kill from Kendall Cooley (Castle Rock, Colo.).

The score was tied three times in the early portions of the second stanza when C-N ripped off four straight to go ahead 9-5. The Lions once again had a run surging back and pulling within one at 18-17. The No. 4 seed clapped back with four unanswered to take a 22-17 edge to provide the pad to coast to a second-set win.

The Eagles sizzled in the third set notching 15 kills without a hitting error to post a .469 hitting margin. C-N won seven of the first eight points of the set to provide the pad needed. The Lions never cut the margin to less than four with the match ending on an ace from Rohr.

Sally Anne Johnson led the way for Mars Hill with eight kills while Sara Pasour had 11 assists and Ully Martins posted 11 digs.

The Eagles will take on top-seeded Wingate Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. from the Levine Center in Charlotte on the campus of Queens for the chance to play for the tournament title.

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