Coastal Carolina Junior and First-Team All-Conference outside hitter Katherine Jensen (Vancouver, British Columbia/Sentinel Secondary) (Ole Miss)) recorded a season-high 31 kills in leading the No. 2 seed Chanticleers to a 3-2 win over No. 3 seed Birmingham-Southern Saturday at the Justice Center on the campus of UNC Asheville, helping the Chants advance to their first appearance in the Big South Volleyball Championship match since 1998. Coastal Carolina will play No. 1 seed Winthrop in the Championship match on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., marking the first time the No. 1 and No. 2 seed will meet in the Big South title match since 1999.
Jensen finished the match with a .349 hitting percentage, and tallied 19 digs in recording her League-leading 24th double-double. Her 31 kills are the most in the Big South this season as well. Coastal fell in the opener, 33-31, but bounced back to handily win games two and three, 30-17 and 30-14, respectively. The Chants (21-9) hit .385 in game two and .390 in game three. Birmingham-Southern (16-12) fought off Coastals charge in game four, winning 30-28. But game five would belong to Coastal Carolina, as the Chants won 15-11 behind a .522 team hitting percentage.
Besides Jensen, Krista Kimble (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) posted a .448 hitting percentage (14-1-29), followed by Laura Obert (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother Mercy) at .423 (13-2-26) and Alicia Meyers (Temecula, Calif./Temecula Valley) with a .356 clip (18-2-45). Kristin Rinne (Fountain Hills, Ariz./Fountain Hills) totaled 23 digs while Jennifer Hampton (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) had a new career-high with 72 assists and 15 digs. For Birmingham-Southern, Jana Smelley had a team-high 17 kills, followed by Rachel Malmborgs 15 and Lillian Hendersons 12. Lindsey Herzog recorded her 3rd 30-dig match of the year with a match-high 34. Smelley, Malmborg and Kyndall Waters all had double-doubles for the Panthers.
Coastal will make its third-ever appearance in the Big South Championship match, and is a perfect 2-for-2, winning in 1996 and 1998. Winthrop is the first No. 1 seed to play in the Leagues title match since 2001.