HARROGATE, Tenn. — A South Atlantic Conference road trip awaits the Lincoln Memorial University volleyball team (3-2, 1-1 SAC) as they pay a visit to Catawba (4-5, 1-1 SAC) this weekend.
The Lady Railsplitters will face Catawba in Salisbury at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The opening weekend of SAC play was stressful for the Lady Railsplitters, who needed every bit of five sets to defeat Brevard and then suffered through an absolute offensive funk in a 3-1 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne, perpetuating a five-match losing streak against the Bears.
Wildly inconsistent passing and inefficient attacking, two parts of the game that are indisputably linked, nearly ended the Lady Railsplitters’ 19-match winning streak over Brevard and certainly played a key role in the loss to Lenoir-Rhyne. Lincoln Memorial combined for 15 reception errors in those two matches and hit a season-low .099 with a season-high 31 attack miscues versus the Bears.
The Lady Railsplitters enter the weekend ranked 11th in the SAC with a .154 attack percentage.
Brooke Fleeman (Nashville, Tennessee) has accounted for 12 or more kills in four consecutive matches as she posted a season-high 15 against Brevard and paced LMU with 13 versus Lenoir-Rhyne.
Liz Brock (Lima, Ohio) and Jazzy Oates (Franklin, Tennessee) are contributing 2.40 and 2.35 kills per set, respectively. Oates has a .252 attack percentage while Tone Gill (Nashville, Tennessee) leads the team in that category with a .353 mark.
Casey Mense (Littleton, Colorado), who is currently third on the team with 3.50 digs per set, enters the weekend needing 161 digs to tie the program record for career digs.
Freshman Erica Whiteaker (Kingston Springs, Tennessee) leads the Lady Railsplitters with 3.95 digs per set. Abby Cash (New Carlisle, Ohio) is ranked fourth in the SAC in assists per set (9.30) and 15th in digs per frame (3.60).
Know the Opponent
Catawba – 2 p.m.
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for the Indians early on, which should come as no surprise considering their roster is composed of 14 underclassmen and just two juniors. Catawba opened the season by dropping three of its first four matches but has since won three of its last five, including a 3-1 win at Newberry last Friday and a 3-1 win over Winston-Salem State on Tuesday.
Catawba does not appear to be a team with a record currently a game below .500 when referencing a number of key statistical measures. The Indians have outhit their opponents by a significant margin, producing a .191 attack percentage while holding the opposition to a .157 mark. They also rank second in the SAC with 1.97 blocks per set.
But reception and attacking errors have proven to be bugaboos for the Indians, who currently have the league’s fourth-most attacking miscues with 150 and the second-most reception errors with 46.
The Indians are led by sophomores Erin Morant (2.32 kills/set), McKenzie Garrison (2.29 k/set) and Alex Hopper (2.17 k/set). Morant, who had a season-high 12 kills against Winston-Salem, is hitting .278, while Garrison is among the team leaders with 2.68 digs per set. Junior Kaytee Frabotta is averaging 8.29 assists and 2.29 digs per set. Evan Schultz is leading the team and 12th in the SAC with 3.90 digs per set.
Catawba entertains Carson-Newman the night before welcoming the Lady Railsplitters to Goodman Gym. The Eagles enter that contest with a 5-1 record and a four-match winning streak.
The Lady Railsplitters have not lost to the Indians since Nov. 18, 2011, winning seven straight matches since that date to assume an 11-10 edge in the all-time series. Lincoln Memorial improved to 5-5 in Salisbury with a 3-1 win last season, as Holland led the way with 14 kills.