JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --- The Carson-Newman Eagles jumped out to a two-set lead and held off a late charge in defeating arch-rival Tusculum 3-1 Tuesday night in a quarterfinal match of the 2017 South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Tournament at Holt Fieldhouse.
The fourth-seeded Eagles (16-13) won the match by scores of 25-18, 25-17, 25-27, 25-22 to advance to Friday's semifinal against top-seed Anderson at 4 p.m. The SAC semifinal and final will be held this weekend in Jefferson City and hosted by Carson-Newman. No. 5-seed Tusculum ends its season with a 15-16 overall record.
C-N's Megan Oldenburger led her team with 16 kills, nine digs, five blocks and two service aces for her 20.5 points. The duo of Marnie Streeter and Katie Parnell tallied 15 kills each in the victory.
Tusculum senior Sabrina Schleuger led the Pioneers with 14 kills, 12 digs and three blocks, while senior Laryssa Welch added 13 kills, seven digs and five blocks in the loss. Senior Mariah Lewis tallied 10 kills and three blocks, while senior setter Shannon Murphy posted 42 assists, 14 digs and four service aces in her final match in the Black and Orange.
Carson-Newman finished the match with 59 kills and 19 errors in 189 total attempts for their .212 hitting percentage. Tusculum had 50 kills, 23 errors and 181 attempts to hit .149 on the evening.
C-N finished the match with 10 service aces, including three from Madison Rademacher and two each from Hannah Robertson and Odlenburger.
The Eagles led wire-to-wire in the opening set as C-N got four kills each from Oldenburger and Streeter as the hosts prevailed 25-18.
In the second set, C-N posted a .333 hitting percentage finishing with 18 kills and only three hitting errors, including six kills from Katie Parnell as the Eagles won 25-17 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Pioneers shook off the sluggish start and opened the third set with a 9-2 run including back-to-back aces from Murphy to get TC rolling. But the Eagles answered with a 6-1 spurt to trim the deficit to 10-8 following three Tusculum errors. TC moved its lead out to 14-10 and led 18-13, before C-N made another charge with a 9-3 run to knot the set at 21-21 following a kill from Oldenburger.
The Eagles took their first lead of the set at 24-23, but the Pioneers would fight off two match points and closed out the frame with a 3-0 run, including a solo block from Welch as TC won 27-25.
Similar to the third set, Tusculum scored seven in a row to take a 9-2 lead. But also like the previous frame, back came the Eagles with an 8-1 run to tie the set at 10-10. C-N would use the momentum and forge ahead to a 15-13 lead. But the Pioneers answered with an 8-3 run to lead 21-18 and forcing a timeout by the home team.
But the Eagles would rally and wrap up the match with a 7-1 run down the stretch to win the set 25-22.
Tusculum libero Melissa Mazur finished the match with 38 digs, including 16 in the opening set. C-N's Morgan Ballard tallied 40 digs, including 17 in the final frame.
Welch wraps up her outstanding Tusculum career as she finishes ranked in the program's top-10 in several categories. Her 247 career blocks are seventh in the TC record, while her .248 hitting percentage and 903 career kills are listed eighth and 10th, respectively in school history.
Playing in just three seasons, Murphy will leave Tusculum ranked fifth in career assists with 2,358 helpers, while her 7.44 career assists per set average is also fifth in the TC record book. This season, she posed 1,204 assists which are seventh-best by a Pioneer.
Schleuger also leaves her mark in TC volleyball history. Her 117 career service aces are tied for seventh most, while her 2,734 attempts (10th in TC history) and 7.75 attempts per set average (5th in TC history) are ranked amongst the program's best.
Lewis' three blocks gives her 212 for her career, which are listed 11th in Tusculum history.