Coastal Advances to Semifinal with Sweep of CSU
HIGH POINT, N.C. - Leah Hardeman, the 2015 Big South Player of the Year, notched 13 points on 12 kills and a solo block as the top-seeded Chanticleers rolled past No. 8 Charleston Southern in three sets in Thursday’s first quarterfinal match of the Big South championship at High Point’s Millis Center.
The Chanticleers advance to the semifinals of the tournament for the fourth straight season under head coach Jozsef Forman, and will face the winner of Thursday’s second quarterfinal between No. 4 UNC Asheville and No. 5 Winthrop. First serve for Friday’s semifinal match is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Millis Center.
Thursday’s quarterfinal win marks the 18th time this season that the Chants have downed an opponent in straight sets, and moves Coastal’s overall season record to 23-4.
CSU’s best effort of the day came in the opening set as the Bucs kept it close before Coastal pulled away for the 25-18 set win. The Chants then dominated the rest of the match, leading start-to-finish in a 25-16 win in the second set before using a 16-5 run in the final set to win by the same margin.
Hardeman’s 12 kills came on 29 attempts with just one error to give the sophomore a .379 hitting percentage. Coastal also had a trio of players hit over .400 as Lian Bernett (.478), Annayka Legros (.455) and Eszter Nagy (.400) combined to put down 32 kills for the Chants. Legros led the match with 13 kills.
Sara Boothe, an all-freshman and honorable mention all-conference selection, provided 37 assists as she set Coastal to 51 kills and a .353 hitting percentage.
Carla Cahill led all players with 14 digs, while Natasa Savovic (12), Boothe (11) and Bernett (10) also finished in double figures in the category. Hardeman’s block was Coastal’s only one of the day as CSU led 4-1 in that category, but the Chanticleer defense still managed to hold CSU to hitting just .118 for the match.
Coastal’s .316 hitting percentage in the opening set was its lowest of the day, and allowed CSU keep pace with the Chants in the early going. Leading 11-10, however, Coastal strung together an 8-4 run to pull away from the Bucs. Hardeman closed out the game with consecutive kills, her fifth and sixth of the set. Legros also provided five kills in the first.
The Chants jumped out to a quick 13-6 lead in the second set and improved their hitting to .342. Legros and Hardeman again paired to lead the Chants in kills as the former notched five and the latter four. Boothe and Cahill, meanwhile, each registered five digs.
Coastal’s large run in the final set came after the Chants evened the score at 4-4. Bernett was the set’s leader in kills with six as the senior tallied Coastal’s final two points to close out the match.
Friday’s semifinal match will be streamed live on the Big South Network. Check back to GoCCUSports.com for links to the live stream and live stats for the match.