JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Sophomore Casey Mense broke the school’s single season record for digs and the Lady Railsplitters withstood a furious rally to top the Carson-Newman Eagles in five sets (25-23, 24-26, 25-20, 19-25, 15-6) in South Atlantic Conference volleyball action on Tuesday.
Lincoln Memorial University improves to 17-11 on the season and 13-6 in SAC play with the win while Carson-Newman falls to 11-16 overall and 6-14 in league play.
Mense, a libero from Murfreesboro, amassed a game-high 31 digs in the match, breaking LMU’s school record for digs in a season. The previous record was held by Courtney Marton who compiled 562 scoops in 2005. With two matches remaining in the regular season, Mense — in her first year as a libero — has accumulated 586 digs.
Five different Lady Railsplitters collected double-digit kills in the match, headlined by Allison Beavers who matched a game-high effort with 16 kills to go along with 25 assists and six digs. Brooke Fleeman churned out 13 kills on only 29 attempts for a .345 attack percentage while Kaitlin Walton tallied 14 kills and seven digs. Jazzy Oates posted 10 kills, six digs and three block assists. Kendra Gephart filled out the stat sheet with 12 kills, three assists, nine digs and three block assists.
Abby Cash paced the Lady Railsplitters with 36 assists and the freshman also racked up 12 digs.
Rachel Harper, Lauren Santarelli and Emily Schultz led the Eagle attack with 45 combined kills. Harper led that group by matching Beavers with 16 kills, while Santarelli and Schultz added 15 and 14 respectively. Kristen Pickett cataloged a match-high 52 assists and Taylor Lowe churned out 26 digs to lead Carson-Newman.
The Lady Railsplitters used seven kills and three Carson-Newman attack errors to jump out to a commanding 10-2 lead early in the opening set. Later, a kill by Oates put LMU up 18-10 lead. The Eagles fought back to get within 23-21, but a kill from put the Lady Railsplitters back in control and they went on to take the set 25-23.
The second set was tied 20-20 before Gephart and Beavers delivered consecutive kills after a timeout. Another kill from Kaitlin Walton gave LMU two chances at set point with a 24-22 lead. Carson-Newman was able to not only fend off set point, but churned out a 4-0 rally behind kills from Santarelli and Schultz to capture the set 26-24.
A kill from Fleeman put LMU on top 16-12 in the third set. The Lady Raislplitter then used three kills from Gephart and one from Walton to push that lead to 21-14. Gephart later sealed the 25-20 set victory with a kill.
Schultz had two kills and an ace midway through the fourth set to put Carson-Newman up 17-11. LMU got as close as 20-17 after a kill from Walton, but the Eagles closed with a 5-2 run to take the set 25-19 and force a fifth.
Beavers posted two early kills and Fleeman followed suit with two kills to push Lincoln Memorial out to a 5-3 lead in the fifth set. Santarelli answered with a pair of kills to keep the Eagles in the set but Cash extended the LMU lead to 8-5 with a dump set kill. A Chelsea Ferron service ace and an Allison McKinnon kill gave the Lady Railsplitters a 10-6 cushion. The Lady Railsplitters closed off the 15-10 victory with four kills and a Carson-Newman attack error.
The Lady Railsplitters host Brevard on Friday at 7 p.m.