The Carson-Newman Lady Eagles returns one goalkeeper from the 2013 season, Katy Hill. She recorded 24 saves in five games last season, making two starts. Hill set the 2013 season-high total with 13 saves against Alabama-Huntsville.
Carson-Newman added three keepers during the off season: freshman Vittoria Boscatto from Sao Paulo, Brazil, freshman Katie Cottrell, a Knoxville, Tennessee, native and sophomore Taylor Hammond, a Division-I transfer from Jacksonville State University.
A competition has developed at the keeper position for Coach Richard Moodie and Assistant Coach Sarah Tompkins. Hill has been sidelined during the preseason due to an illness, which has allowed Boscatto and Hammond to compete for a spot in the Eagles’ starting six.
Two seniors, Rachel Harper from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Lauren Santarelli from Colorado Springs, Colorado, will anchor the front line. Harper was a second team All-South Atlantic Conference selection last season and has been placed on the first team preseason list this season. In 2013, she produced the fourth-highest kills per set in program history.
Junior Sara Fairley from Charlotte returns seeking a bigger role after playing 44 sets in 2013. Ahiers and his coaching staff have been impressed with Fairley during the preseason. The Eagles bring in a pair of freshman, Rachel Cutshaw of Whitesburg, Tennessee, and Kyrie Pennington also from Charlotte to add talent to an already strong position group.
Kristen Pickett is one of the most accomplished players the Eagle volleyball program has seen. The 2013 All-South Atlantic Conference honorable mention ranks second in school history with 2,680 assists and claims two of the top ten seasons in terms of assists per set that she set over the past two seasons. The senior has missed just one game in her three year career.
In his first recruiting class, Ahiers brought in a pair of setters with size. Freshman Morgan Harlan stands at 6’2″ and has been working as a middle blocker on top of her setting duties. Freshman Anna Patton is 6′ and brings a blocking presence to the setting position.
The goal for the Eagles this season is to spread the wealth and not rely so heavily on first team All-SAC selection Rachel Harper who had just shy of 1,000 attack opportunities. Ahiers brings in an experienced and prolific middle blocker in senior transfer from the University of California, Santa Barbara Jenna Wilson.
At the back line of defense, the liberos, with junior Kristina Hill and sophomore Taylor Lowe. Junior Lindsey Wells has moved from setter to libero where she has been working to learn a new position prior to the start of the season while sophomore Eileen Anderson rounds out the group.
The Lady Eagles are one week away from beginning the 2014 season when Carson-Newman travels to Belmont, Calif. to play in the Route 92 Tournament.