CONWAY, S.C. -- The Coastal Carolina University volleyball team defeated both of its opponents in the first day of The Caravelle Resort Invitationa at Kimbel Arena Friday, Sept. 14. Coastal started the day out with a 3-1 victory over Gardner-Webb. The Lady Chanticleers then beat Buffalo 3-0 for their first sweep of the season. Game scores for the Gardner-Webb match were 25-30, 30-20, 30-23, 30-21. Game scores against Buffalo were 30-21, 31-29, 30-20.
Coastal got off to a sluggish start to Gardner-Webb, allowing the Bulldogs to score four of the first five points of the match. Although Coastal was able to tie game one on two differenct occasions, Gardner-Webb maintained the lead throughout much of the game.
The Lady Chanticleers rebounded by taking the next three games. Coastal's spark started wtih a pair of seven-point runs in the second game, which ultimately led to forcing Gardner-Webb into 29 errors and a team .356 hitting percentage for those three games.
Coastal was powered by six players who had hitting percentages over .300, including a match-best performance from freshman Megan Bickford (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South). Bickford hit .571, making 13 kills off 21 total attacks with one error. Sophomore Jill Nyhof (Alpharetta, Ga./Northview) and freshman Chelsy Kimes (Munster, Ind./Munster) also had 13 kils. Kimes also had 14 digs to notch her third career double-double. Meagan Tracey (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) put up a match-high 55 assists. Meanwhile, junior libero Brett Starbuck (Glen Allen, Va./J.R. Tucker) had a match-high 25 digs.
Audra Harrison led Gardner-Webb with a match-high 14 kills. Heidi Steinebrunner had a double-double for Gardner-Webb with 13 kills and 11 digs.
Coastal's momentum carried on through its second match as the Lady Chants hit .333 against Buffalo. The Lady Chants dominated the first and third games. However, game two favored Buffalo as the Bulls held a six-point advantage on three separate occasions, including one at 20-14. Coastal battled back to eventually tie the game at 28-all. Senior Nakia Thompson's (Lexington, S.C./Lexington) kill gave Coastal the one point lead, but Buffalo's Claudia Neba knotted the game back at 29. Freshman Amanda Russell's (Liberty, Ind./Union County) gave Coastal the one-point edge, while sophomore Megan Pollard (Naperville, Ill./Naperville) sealed the game with an ace.
Again, Bickford was the match's top hitter. This time the Olathe, Kan., native hit .684, connecting on 14 kills off 19 total attacks. Kimes had a match-high 15 kills, while Thompson and Nyhof contributed 10 kills each. Tracey totaled 40 assists and a match-high six aces, including three straight in game one. Starbuck tallied a match-high 24 digs.
Kristin Bignell led Buffalo with seven kills.
Coastal wraps up play at The Caravelle Resort Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 15 against Delaware. Match time is scheduled for 2 p.m.