Friday, November 19, 2010

#6 seed Carson-Newman defeats #3 seed Tusculum 3-1 in NCAA first round match

Wingate, N.C.----The sixth-seeded Carson-Newman College Eagles rallied to win the final three sets, as they defeated the third-seeded Pioneers of Tusculum College in quarter-final action of the 2010 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional volleyball tournament in Cuddy Arena. The Eagles won by scores of 17-25, 25-22, 25-23 and 27-25 to improve to 20-10 overall. They advance to Saturday’s regional semi-finals. Tusculum ends its season with a 25-7 overall record.

Senior outside hitter Carly Mozgai (Greensboro, N.C.) had 16 kills and 13 digs to lead the Carson-Newman attack. Junior middle hitter Nikki James (Cookeville, Tenn.) had 11 kills and 11 blocks for the Eagles, while junior outside hitter Carly Swisher (Fort Collins, Colo.) had 13 kills with a .324 hitting percentage. Senior setter Lara McDonald (Salem, Va.) notched 47 assists and 11 digs, while sophomore libero Angelle Hayes (Brentwood, Tenn.) collected 24 digs.

Freshman outside hitter Rhayne Smitherman (Columbus, Ohio) had a match-high 19 kills to lead the Tusculum attack. Senior middle blocker Allyson Ray (Hudson, Fla.) and sophomore outside hitter Bailee Price (Fort Wayne, Ind.) had 11 kills each for the Pioneers. Freshman setter Ashley Sarmiento (Dayton, Ohio) handed out 51 assists to go along with 10 digs and five blocks while freshman libero Caitlyn Dean (Fort Wayne, Ind.) collected 23 digs.

Kills from Mozgai and Swisher gave the Eagles a 16-13 lead in the opening set. Tusculum had the emphatic answer, scoring 12 of the final 13 points in the set to claim a 25-17 win. Three consecutive Carson-Newman errors tied it at 16, while an ace from sophomore outside hitter Sam Underwood (Muncie, Ind.) gave the Pioneers the lead for good at 17-16. Kills from Price and Smitherman, followed by back-to-back aces from Price, made it 24-17. A Carson-Newman error finished the first set.
The Eagles jumped out to an 11-6 lead in the opening set, capped by a James block. Kills from Ray and Underwood trimmed the lead to two at 14-12. No team would lead by more than three the rest of the way. A kill and a block from James gave the Eagles a 22-20 advantage. A Carson-Newman error cut the lead back to one, but James teamed with freshman Courtney Lawson (Chattanooga, Tenn.) for a block to make it 23-21. Lawson followed with an ace, while Ray capped the frame with a kill.

Tusculum used a 9-1 run to take a 19-12 lead in the third set. Price got it started with a kill and an ace. Consecutive Smitherman kills, along with a block, capped the flurry to put the Pioneers on top by seven. The Eagles answered by scoring the next six points to cut the lead to one. James got the spurt going with back-to-back kills, followed by back-to-back blocks. Kills from Mozgai and James tied the set at 20. Kills from Price and Underwood gave Tusculum a 22-20 lead. Carson-Newman scored the next three points to take a 23-22 lead on a Tusculum error. Ray tied the set at 23 with a kill. The Eagles then turned to Mozgai, who hammered home the final two points of the set to give Carson-Newman a 2-1 lead in the match.

Three Smitherman kills, along with a block from Smitherman and Sarmiento, gave the Pioneers a 16-10 lead in the fourth set. The Eagles used a 5-1 run to cut the lead to two on a kill from Bowlin. A block from Underwood and sophomore middle blocker Alyssa Raterman (Urbana, Ohio) pushed the lead back to three at 20-17. A Smitherman kill would give the Pioneers a 24-21 advantage. Three consecutive Mozgai kills would tie the set at 24. A block from Ray and Sarmiento put Tusculum on top by one. The Eagles went back to Mozgai, who tied the set at 25. A kill from Bowlin put Carson-Newman on top by one, while freshman outside hitter Lindsey Bryant (Gainesville, Ga.) concluded the match with a kill.

Carson-Newman hit .193 for the match, with 55 kills and 21 errors in 176 attacks. The Pioneers hit .209, with 57 kills and 23 errors in 163 attacks. The Eagles had seven aces, led by Lawson and Swisher with two each. Price had four of Tusculum’s five aces on the day.

Carson-Newman will take on the winner of the Armstrong Atlantic State University versus Flagler College match. The semi-final match will take place Saturday at 5 p.m. in Cuddy Arena on the Wingate campus.
(Wingate University assistant sports information director Hugh Patton wrote this article. Patton is a 2006 Wingate graduate with a B.A. degree in Communication Studies.)

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