Volleyball fails in bid to repeat as SAC Tournament Champions

GREENEVILLE, TN Second-seeded Carson-Newman won a battle of co-champions, defeating top-seed Catawba in three games to claim the championship of the 2002 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Tournament in Alpine Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Lady Eagles advance to the NCAA Division II South Regional for the first time in school history with the 30-24, 30-24, 32-30 win. Carson-Newman improved to 29-6 overall with the tournament victory. This is the second time the Lady Eagles have won the SAC Tournament as they defeated Presbyterian College in the event in 2000. Carson-Newman improves to 30-6, while Catawba, the 2001 tourney champ, falls to 24-7 and will conclude its season on Tuesday at Pfeiffer. After five ties and two lead changes, Carson-Newman won the first game by a score of 30-24. With the game tied at 19-19, the Lady Eagles went on an 8-2 run to lead 27-21. The teams then traded points and the Eagles won game one, 30-24. The Eagles used an early 9-2 run in the second game to take an 11-4 edge. Carson-Newman maintained a comfortable advantage for most of the game and held an eight-point lead on five different occasions. Catawba fought back late in game two cutting the deficit to three points (27-24) but the Lady Eagles once again were strong and reeled off three unanswered points to win game two, 30-24. Game three was extremely close. The last stanza saw seven ties and four lead changes. The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 6-0 lead only to see Catawba reel off six straight points to tie the game at 6-6. After the score was tied at 8-8, Catawba scored seven straight points to lead 15-8. Carson-Newman regrouped and went on a 14-to-7 run to tie the match at 22-22. The momentum then shifted to the Indians as Catawba scored three straight points to take a 25-22 advantage. Once again the Lady Eagles battled back and after out scoring Catawba 5-to-2, tied the game at 27-27. Catawba served for the game at 30-29, but the Lady Eagles won the final three points to claim the title. Kendra Rickertsen (Pelham, AL) led the Lady Eagles with 19 kills. Blaire Young (Morristown, TN) had a match high 28 digs while second team All-SAC selection Sherry Trimble (Marion, IN) provided the Eagles with 45 assists in the victory. Heather Hawkins (Troutman, NC) led Catawba with 13 kills, followed by Hope Miller's (Newton, NC) 19 digs. Lettie Wilkes (Williamsport, MD) supplied the Lady Indian offense with 38 assists in the contest. The match was the rubber game for the teams on the season as both had earned wins on their home floor during the regular season. MATCH SCORES 1 2 3 #2 Carson-Newman (29-6) 30 30 32 Catawba (24-7) 24 24 30 Leaders Kills: C Heather Hawkins 13, Rachel LaRoche 11, Hope Miller 10; CN Kendra Rickertson 19 Digs: C Miller 19, Erin Naumann 16, Crystal Bonner 15; CN Blair Young 28 Blocks: C - Elizabeth Hewitt 3-2/5, Rachel LaRoche 0-2/2; CN Jennifer Holmes 5 Assists: C - Lettie Wilkes 38; CN Sherry Tremble 45 Aces: C Wilkes 2, LaRoche, Miller; CN Erin Collins ATT: 450 Time - 1:40 #######

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Volleyball Team Photo