ROCK HILL, S.C. – Aggressive play on both sides of the court pushed the Coastal Carolina University volleyball team (23-8, 11-3 Big South) into five sets, where the Chanticleers posted a 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-23, 15-12) victory over Winthrop (9-17, 5-8 Big South) Tuesday, Nov. 11., at Winthrop Coliseum. Sophomore Chelsy Kimes (Munster, Ind./Munster) registered a match-high 18 kills, while Winthrop’s Kelley Taylor recorded 17 for the Eagles. It was an all-out stalemate in the first set, as the teams fought to six tie scores before senior Brett Starbuck (Glen Allen, Va./J.R. Tucker) registered a service ace to give the Chanticleers an 8-6 edge. Winthrop answered with a four-point rally to go ahead 10-8. Down 17-13, Coastal Carolina assembled a six-point run to regain the lead at 19-17. The teams would play to five more deadlocks ending at 23-23. The Eagles nabbed the next two points to take the first set 25-23. The tight battle continued in the second set with neither team able to pull ahead more than three points. The Chants held a 20-17 edge, forcing Winthrop to call a timeout. Out of the short break, the Eagles gained some momentum, tallying the next three points to even the frame at 20-20. Kimes knocked down three quick kills and a block by junior Meagan Tracey (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) and sophomore Megan Bickford (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) earned Coastal Carolina set point at 24-20. A kill by Winthrop’s Kelley Taylor stalled the Chants victory only for a moment, as Bickford powered through the Eagles' block to win the set 25-21. Coastal Carolina grabbed an 11-7 lead out of the break, but the Eagles came back to tie the score at 11-11. With Winthrop holding a 20-17 advantage, the Eagles held the Chanticleers off the scoreboard for the rest of the set to take a 25-17 victory, pulling ahead 2-1 in the match. The Chants hit .000 in the third frame, while the Eagles managed a .158 hitting percentage. Another tight contest ensued in the fourth set with the squads playing to an 8-8 tie. Coastal Carolina earned a 16-11 advantage, but Winthrop played its way back into the set at 23-22, pushing the Chanticleers to huddle in a timeout. Out of the short break, Winthrop, energized with momentum, tallied the kill, tying the set at 23-23. Another timeout by Coastal Carolina inspired the Chants, as Kimes hammered through the Winthrop block for a 24-23 edge. Winthrop tried to respond, but could not muster a solid attack, handing the Chants a 25-23 victory to force a fifth set. Coastal Carolina pulled ahead 8-4 in the final set, but the Eagles climbed to within one point at 8-7, leading the Chants to call a timeout. Junior Jill Nyhof (Alpharetta, Ga./Northview) came out swinging knocking down four-straight kills for a 13-9 lead. An attacking error by the Eagles gave the Chants set point at 14-11, but Winthrop’s Kaley Viola kept the set alive with a kill. On the second match point, Winthrop struggled again to create a solid attack, leading the Chanticleers to a 15-12 victory.
“Meagan was instrumental being an offensive option for us,” Head Coach Kristen Bauer commented. “Jill and Bickford did an outstanding job of leading us through the match and Starbuck picked up her defense after set three and helped us. Even though we didn’t have our best match, we stuck together and fought as a team.”Kimes had 15 digs for her seventh double-double of the season, while Tracey posted 40 assists and 11 digs for her third double-double on the year. Bickford was efficient for the Chants, collecting 13 kills to hit .310 for the Chanticleers. Coastal Carolina returns to Kimbel Arena for its final two regular-season matches. The Chanticleers will host UNC Asheville Friday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m., and face Presbyterian Saturday at 1 p.m.