Coastal Pushes #24 North Carolina to Fifth Set, Falls Short
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Coastal Carolina volleyball team rallied from two match deficits to push 24th-ranked North Carolina to a fifth set, but ultimately came up short as UNC won the match 25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 18-25, 15-7 Saturday night at Carmichael Arena.
Saturday's match was the final nonconference test for the Chants this season. Coastal carries a 3-6 overall record into next weekend when it begins Sun Belt Conference play with matches at Arkansas State on Friday, and Little Rock on Saturday.
Leah Hardeman and Kyla Manning led the Chants in their effort to defeat their first ever ranked opponent. Hardeman posted a 13 kill, 24 dig double-double, leading all players in the latter category. Manning also had 13 kills, and added 10 digs for her first double-double.
Coastal's blockers were active throughout the night as the Chants totaled nine team blocks. Larissa Dos Santos led the way with five blocks, and chipped in offensively with eight kills and a .375 hitting percentage. Leah Levert and Aristea Tontai each had a trio of blocks, while Manning and Kaylah House added a pair apiece.
UNC's Taylor Leath led the match with 19 kills while hitting .341. Beth Nordhorn and Holly Carlton also had double-digit kills, and Katharine Esterly led all players with six blocks.
Coastal had an opportunity to take an early lead in the match, but UNC rallied towards the end of the first set. The Chants held a narrow 21-19 lead before UNC took the five points to force set point. Coastal got its final point of the set on a Tarheel service error, but UNC finished off the first with a kill by Beth Nordhorn.
The Chants found themselves trailing slightly midway through the second set, but a 7-2 run put Coastal in front 22-19. It would not be a repeat of the first set, as a Tontai kill and a pair of UNC errors allowed Coastal to even the match.
The UNC attack applied pressure early in the third set, allowing the Tarheels to jump out to a 12-5 lead, and did not let up for the remainder of the frame as UNC won the game by seven points. UNC hit .179 in the set and totaled three blocks and 19 digs to limit Coastal to hitting .075.
It was the exact opposite in the fourth set, with Coastal hitting .244 -- its highest percentage of the match. Defensively, the Chants totaled 17 digs and four blocks to limit UNC to hitting .121.
After being held to three kills the entire match, the Chants could not contain UNC's Taylor Fricano in the final set. Fricano had five kills on seven swings as she led a Tarheel team that hit .625 to finish off the match. Coastal held two leads early in the set, but five straight points from UNC built what proved to be an insurmountable lead.