Sports

NB graduate helps team to the Elite 8

Special to the Tribune

Wingate, NC – Waking up on Oct. 5, Carson-Newman College’s Volleyball team stood with a 7-5 record and a 5-4 conference mark. Not a bad record, but not outstanding either.

North Buncombe graduate Morgan Ballard holds the region champ trophy after the win Saturday evening.
North Buncombe graduate Morgan Ballard holds the region champ trophy after the win Saturday evening.

However, fast forward to Saturday evening (Dec. 7th) at Cuddy Arena and the Eagles have now won 21 of their last 23 matches, dropping a total of 13 sets and carving out space in the trophy case for a South Atlantic Conference Tournament title and an NCAA Southeast Region Championship.
Right there in the middle of it is Morgan Ballard, a Weaverville native and a North Buncombe graduate, who led all players in the championship game with 20 digs, bringing her tally for the weekend to 74, good for an average of 7.40 digs per set.

In the Saturday game, third-seeded Carson-Newman (28-7) secured its second region title in the last five years to become the first team in program history to hoist two tournament trophies in the same season rushing the floor behind another consistent effort over fourth-seeded Augusta winning 27-25, 25-21 and 25-23 for its 14th sweep in the last two months.

Ballard has been no small part of the team’s success. Morgan’s dad, Tim Ballard, retweeted the Tribune a Carson-Newman tweet stating that Morgan, a three-time all-region libero, is now the highest decorated volleyball player in Carson-Newman’s history. Morgan and the rest of her team now head off to the NCAA next round, the Elite 8, which will take place on Dec. 12th in Denver, Colo. at the Auraria Events Center on the campus of Metropolitan State. Morgan “is now #1 in digs in the country and no way anybody left playing can catch her,” Tim told the Tribune. “That’s in ALL divisions! She will have more than anybody in the country.”

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