Chattanooga's Newberry Breaks NCAA Career Dig Record
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - History was made Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 532 at Maclellan Gymnasium as Chattanooga senior Lara Newberry broke the NCAA record for digs in a career. The libero broke the mark with her 15th dig of the night in the second set of a 3-0 loss to Samford. She finished with 24 digs on the evening as the Bulldogs took the match 25-15, 27-25, and 25-19.
Newberry broke the record previously set by Minnesota's Paula Gentile (2002-05). She now has 2,801 digs in her career and 402 for the 2008 season. The Chattanooga native now holds the NCAA record for both digs in a season (942), and in a career.
"I'm so proud of her and what she stands for," Head Coach Lisa Rhodes said. "She is the total package. She is wonderful to coach and I guess the best word for her is that she is coachable. I'm very proud of her."
"This is really special for me because I know I've done something that no one else has done before," Newberry said. "I wouldn't be here though if it wasn't for my parents, teammates, and coaches. They have encouraged and pushed me and I can't thank them enough."
During the opening set, Newberry was able to record nine of her digs as Samford took the frame 25-15. All-American Ashley Adams paced the Bulldog offense in the set with eight of her match-high 20 kills as Samford outhit the Lady Mocs .286-.154. Aurore Kullak led Chattanooga with three kills during the set.
In the second set, both team's defense took center stage as the two squads were both held to hitting percentages below .080. Samford held UTC to .073, while the Lady Mocs held the potent Bulldog attack to just a .078 hitting percentage as Samford came out with the 27-25 victory to go up 2-0. The Lady Mocs had its chance to put the set away at 25-24, but an Adams kill tied the set back up at 25 as the Bulldogs would eventually take the frame.
In the third, and what would be final, set the Samford offense revved back up as the team hit .361. Adams continued her strong play with five kills while hitting .714 as the Bulldogs took the final set and the match, 25-19.
"I'm really proud of my team," Rhodes said. "We came in with a really good game plan and we executed it defensively, but just needed someone to spark the offense for us. Hats off to Samford though, they have six really good players on the floor. It was an exciting match and the crowd was just awesome tonight, hopefully we can have the same support this weekend."
Courtney Barnes led the Lady Mocs in the match with nine kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Cassie Conner posted a team-high 20 assists, while Samford's Hillary Fountain led all players in that department with 43. Samford's Courtney Gay led all players with 25 digs on the night.
The Lady Mocs will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 11 as the team resumes its five-game home stand against Wofford at 2 p.m. The team will wrap up the stretch of home games against Furman on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Article courtesy of Tennessee-Chattanooga athletics.