Coastal Downs A-State in Sun Belt Opener
JONESBORO, Ark. - The Coastal Carolina volleyball team opened its Sun Belt Conference schedule in convincing fashion Friday night, defeating the league's defending west division champions, Arkansas State, in four sets (25-14, 21-25, 27-25, 25-18).
Coastal improves to 4-6 overall with the win, and carries a 1-0 Sun Belt record into Saturday night's 7:30 pm ET match at Little Rock.
The Chants looked impressive throughout, closing the match hitting .284 while holding A-State to a .097 hitting percentage. The Chanticleer defense racked up 66 digs and 10 blocks, including 16 digs each from Sydney Alvis and Sara Booth, and five blocks each from Kyla Manning and Leah Levert.
Offensively, Manning and Levert had 11 and 10 kills, respectively, and the latter posted a hitting percentage over .400.
Leah Hardeman led all players with 19 kills, the second of which moved her into fourth place all time in Coastal history in the category. The senior also hit .364 for the match, and added 14 digs for her seventh double-double of the season.
Boothe also notched a double-double for the Chants, adding 29 assists to her 16 digs.
Coastal came out of the gate firing in the first set, jumping out to a commanding 12-2 lead and continuing to keep the pressure on to cruise to an 11-point set win. The Chanticleer defense limited A-State to hitting -.105 with 16 digs and three blocks, while Dora Lulic and Manning combined to put down seven of the Chants' 12 kills.
The second set opened with each side trading point for point and neither team leading by more than two, until A-State used a 5-1 run to pull ahead 19-15. The four-point cushion proved to be the difference-maker, as the Red Wolves won the set by as many points to even the match.
For the third straight set, the team that built the first lead went on to win the game. Coastal opened the set by going ahead 5-1, and later won four straight points to push its advantage to 17-10. A-State battled back, however, using a 7-2 streak to trim the Chants' lead to a single point. Hardeman then landed a kill to give Coastal set point, but the Red Wolves managed to even the set with consecutive kills. Levert broke a 25-25 tie, and an A-State error gave Coastal the set win.
The match-long trend of an early lead turning into a set win continued into the fourth. Coastal opened with three straight points, and then strung together a 9-1 stretch to take what proved to be an insurmountable 17-8 lead. The Chants remained ahead by at least six points for the remainder of set to finish off their conference-opening victory.