Volleyball Repeats as Sun Belt Champions
JONESBORO, Ark. - The Coastal Carolina volleyball team defeated #2 Texas State in four sets Sunday afternoon to win its second consecutive Sun Belt Volleyball Championship, and fourth conference championship in as many years. The championship victory also ensures that Coastal will be making its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Coastal enters the NCAA postseason with a 20-7 record, its fourth straight 20-plus win season and 12th such season in program history. The Chanticleers will find out their first round opponent and match location on Nov. 26 during the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show, which airs at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.
Texas State, the Sun Belt West Division champion, closes the tournament at 24-9.
The first three sets were all decided by two-point margins, 25-23, with Coastal winning the first and third games, and Texas State claiming the second. The Chants finished off the match with a double figure, 25-15 victory in the fourth.
Leah Hardeman, who had a 21 kill, 16 dig double-double in the victory, was named the Sun Belt Championship Most Outstanding Player for the second consecutive year. The senior outside hitter also finished the match with a .354 hitting percentage and three blocks.
Joining Hardeman on the Sun Belt All-Tournament Team were junior defensive specialist Sydney Alvis, and freshman outside hitter Kyla Manning. Manning put down a career-best 19 kills while hitting .286, and tied for second on the team in blocks with four. For the second consecutive match during the tournament, Alvis led all players in digs with 27.
It was a close match through the first three sets, with 23 ties and nine lead changes. The final set was all Coastal, however, as the score was tied just twice, and the Chants never faced a deficit.
The Chants rode a .378 hitting percentage to victory in the first set. The set was tied late at 22-22 before Coastal won three of the next four points to take the match's opening lead.
After Texas State won the second set to tie the match, Coastal found itself trailing once again in the third. The Chants then swung the momentum of the game by winning seven straight points to go in front, 15-12. The Bobcats managed the even the set seven more times to bring about another 22-22 tie. As in the first set, Coastal won three of the final four points to close the period and take a 2-1 match lead.
The final set saw Coastal hit .300 to Texas State's -.077. Coastal used a 7-2 run in the set to take an insurmountable 19-13 lead, and claimed six of the next eight points to finish off the match.
2017 Sun Belt All-Tournament Team
Leah Hardeman -- Coastal Carolina (Most Outstanding Player)
Sydney Alvis -- Coastal Carolina
Kyla Manning -- Coastal Carolina
Micah Dinwiddie -- Texas State
Amy Pflughaupt -- Texas State
Hali Wisnoskie -- Louisiana
Carlisa May -- Arkansas State
— #FunBelt (@SunBelt) November 19, 2017