Nov. 18, 2012
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - The top-seed Liberty Flames downed second-seed Coastal Carolina 3-1 in the finals of the 2012 Big South Volleyball Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting Sunday at Paul Porter Arena on the campus of Gardner-Webb University. The Flames receive the Big South’s automatic bid to the NCAA Volleyball Championship.
“I’d like to congratulate Liberty,” said Head Coach Jozsef Forman. “They did an awesome job. I would like to thank my coaching staff, my players and my administration. Everybody worked hard this season, and they had a great year. We have start now prepping for next season. Once again congratulations to Liberty and I wish them luck in the NCAA tournament.”
The loss brings an end to Coastal’s first season under Head Coach Jozsef Forman. In just one season Forman helped double the Chanticleers conference win total from five to 10 and produced Coastal’s best record since 2009 when the Chants won the Big South Conference Tournament title. Coastal ends the season with a 14-14 mark including going 6-2 at home. The Chants finished second in the Big South and had a 10-4 record in conference.
Junior Kindra Bailey was selected first team All-Big South while freshmen Gabriella Horvath and Eszter Nagy were named to the all-freshman team. Nagy was also named to the All-Tournament team along with sophomore Jenna Orner.
Coastal fell to Liberty, 25-22, in the first set before taking the second set, 29-27. The Flames went on to win the third set. 25-21, and fourth set, 25-23, to take the match.
CCU was led by junior Meghan Laffin who had 13 kills and four digs. Horvath added 11 kills, 13 digs, a service ace and a solo block. Nagy chipped in 11 kills and a solo block while hitting for a .500 average. Freshman Monica Hall had 10 kills and a block assist while Bailey added nine kills, five digs and two blocks. Junior setter Lauren Alejo had 30 assists and 13 digs while junior Sam Skryd added 17 assists and 12 digs. Orner had a team-high 21 digs while senior Jamie DiMaggio added 10.
The Flames were led by conference Player of the Year Caroline Douglas who had 19 kills and a block. She was the lone Flame with double-digit kills in the match.
The Chants hit .164 as a team while Liberty was not much better at .173. Coastal won the dig battle 80-54 while the Flames dominated in blocks 15-4.
The first set was extremely close with both teams battling the entire way. Neither team could build much of a lead but with the score tied at 21 the Flames went on a 4-1 run to close out the set 25-22. A CCU attack error, a LU service ace and a pair of kills gave the Flames the four points to take the opening period.
The second set was much like the first with neither team giving an inch. The Chants earned the first set point at 24-23 with a kill by Nagy but after a LU timeout the Flames hit back-to-back kills to earn their first set point of the period at 25-24. Horvath answered with a kill of her own to tie the set at 25. Another kill by the Flames put the set back in LU’s control but once again it was a CCU freshman stepping up as Nagy nailed a kill to tie the set at 26. A LU attack error gave the Chants their second chance at the set at 27-26 but the Flames did not go down as Douglas came through with another kill to tie the set at 27. Kills by Hall and Laffin finally closed out the set for the Chants giving CCU a 29-27 victory.
The Flames jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third set and hung onto the advantage the rest of the period as they won 25-21 to take a 2-1 lead in the match. The fourth and final set was much like the third as the Flames took an early 9-4 lead and led most of the way but with the Chants down 19-12 CCU went on a 10-3 run to tie the set at 22. The Flames immediately answered with back-to-back kills to earn the first match point of the day at 24-22. A kill by Horvath extended the match one extra point as the Flames ended the tournament with a kill by Douglas at 25-23.
Coastal returns all but two Chants to next season’s team as Jamie DiMaggio and Samantha Palka end their senior seasons. The Chants will return 99 percent of their kills, 98 percent of their assists, 90 percent of their service aces, 81 percent of their digs and 99 percent of their blocks next season.