Coastal Volleyball Downs South Carolina in Four
COLUMBIA, S.C. - For the second time in as many seasons the Coastal Carolina volleyball team defeated its in-state rival South Carolina, topping the host Gamecocks in four sets (25-15, 17-25, 25-15, 25-23) Tuesday night at the Carolina Volleyball Center.
Each team entered Tuesday’s match looking for its eighth win of the season. The victory improves the Chanticleers to 8-4 overall, while the Gamecocks fall to 7-6. Coastal Carolina also ended South Carolina’s hopes of an in-state sweep this season, as the Gamecocks had previously recorded wins against Clemson, Winthrop, Furman, Charleston Southern and Wofford.
Coastal has won each of its last three matches against SEC opponents, having bested South Carolina and Tennessee in the 2014 season.
Leah Hardeman’s 13 kills paced a Coastal attacked that out-hit South Carolina .214-.106. The Gamecocks put down 45 kills as a team – one more than Coastal – but ended the match with 30 attack errors. Hardeman added 10 digs, two assists and a block.
Carla Cahill led Coastal with 16 digs.
The Chants tallied 10 team blocks to South Carolina’s 7, with Nagy and Alise Petersone accounting for four apiece. Hardeman (two solo, one assist) and Lian Bernett (three assists) each posted three blocks.
Coastal opened the match taking a 6-1 lead in the first set, forcing South Carolina to use an early timeout. The break in action did not slow the Chants’ momentum, however, as Coastal remained efficient on both sides of the ball. The Chants racked up 13 kills en route to a .300 hitting percentage, while nine South Carolina errors and four Coastal blocks limited the Gamecocks to hitting -.067.
The second set proved to be the inverse of the first, as South Carolina rode a .345 hitting percentage and seven Coastal errors to an eight-point set win. Sara Blomgren led the way with four kills, followed by three apiece from Joely Cabrera and Dessaa Legros.
The Chanticleers returned to form in the third set, taking an early lead and holding on for a wire-to-wire set win. Consecutive attack errors from Dessaa Legros gave Coastal an 11-5 lead, and forced South Carolina to use its first timeout. Six points to each side put the Chants in front 17-11 before the Gamecocks called their second halt to play. From there, Coastal used kills from Hardeman, Bernett and Dora Lulic, as well as an ace from Cahill, to go ahead 2-1 in the match.
The final set proved to be the closest of the lot, as the score was tied a dozen times and the lead switched sides on seven occasions. The key play of the set proved to be a service ace from Nagy that broke a 22-22 tie late in the game. South Carolina evened the set once more coming out of a timeout as Dessaa Legros put down her 13th kill of the night. Hardeman responded with her 13th and final kill to set up match point, and an attack error from Blomgren sealed the match for the Chants.
Tuesday’s match marked the end of Coastal’s nonconference schedule for the 2015 season. The Chanticleers open Big South play on Friday at Winthrop for a 7 pm match. Coastal has won each of its last seven matches against conference opponents, with the last loss coming on Oct. 31, 2014 against the Eagles in Rock Hill.