By Erin Burditt |
WINGATE, N.C.—Augusta University’s volleyball team fell to the Carson-Newman Eagles in three sets in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional final on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Cuddy Arena.
The third-seeded Eagles won 27-25, 25-21, 25-23. As a result, the fourth-seeded Jaguars, who upset top-seeded Wingate in the semifinals, finished the season 29-9. Carson-Newman improved to 28-7 and advanced to the Elite Eight in Denver.
Augusta senior Jessica Hedrick led the Jaguars on both offense and defense. Hedrick tallied 10 kills and six blocks. Hedrick also led the team with her .421 hitting percentage. Holland Martin had 19 digs, and Payton Murchie led the way in assists for AU as she dished out 19. Nicolette Ramos added eight kills, and Kylie Martin had eight kills and nine digs.
The first set between the two schools was tight. Carson-Newman led for most of the set, but AU kept the pressure on. The Jaguars were able to tie the match 22-22, and it continued to go back and forth until it was again tied at 25. The Eagles were able to get back-to-back points and secure the win and the first set.
Carson-Newman was in full control during the second set as they got out to a 24-17 lead. The Jaguars were able to get four straight points making it close. The Eagles did not allow any more points as they closed out the Jaguars 25-21.
The third set featured another back-and-forth affair. Both teams traded points, producing a 13-13 tie. Augusta University got out to a four-point lead at 18-14, but Carson-Newman would not go quietly as the Eagles clawed their way back into the set and were down 22-20. A 5-1 run gave Carson-Newman the third set 25-23 and the region title.
Erin Edwards led the Eagles with 19 kills, and Morgan Ballard had 20 digs.
The AU volleyball team went further in 2019 than any other team has in program history, and the Jags captured their second straight Peach Belt Conference Tournament title. The Jaguars advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history, and the 29 wins also were the most in school history. Coach Sharon Quarles team will look to build off of this strong season and go into the 2020 season with high expectations.
Contact Erin Burditt at EBURDITT@augusta.edu.