Coastal opens HTC Center with volleyball tiebreaker

The Coastal Carolina volleyball team opened The HTC Center in front of a crowd of 1,042 screaming fans. The Chanticleers played an exciting five-set match with Big South Conference foe Winthrop.

Coastal thrilled the crowd by winning a marathon second set 29-27 after dropping the opening stanza 25-22. The Chants took a 2-1 lead with a 25-19 third set victory but could not close out the match in the fourth as the Eagle won 25-21. The final set saw the Eagles take the lead on the opening point and never look back as Winthrop won 15-11.

Coastal’s record fell to 2-8 on the season and 0-1 in Big South Conference play while Winthrop improved to 7-8 and 1-0 in Big South action.

The Chants were led by freshman Gabriella Horvath who recorded 16 kills and 10 digs for her second career double-double. Classmate Ester Nagy added a career-high 12 kills and four blocks including three solo stops. Sophomore Katie Martin had 11 kills and five blocks including one solo. Junior Meghan Laffin added 10 kills in just four sets of action.

Setter Lauren Alejo had 47 assists and 12 digs to record her third double-double of the season. Libero Jamie DiMaggio led the team with 17 digs while Sam Skryd added 14. Sophomore Jenna Orner had 13 digs as she split time at libero with DiMaggio.

The Chants jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead as the opened the brand new HTC Center. Junior Kindra Bailey had a kill followed by a pair of service aces to lead the charge in the opening minutes of the match. The Eagles slowly chipped away at the Chants lead eventually tying the set at 13. The two teams traded points until the 15-point mark where the Eagles scored back-to-back points to take a 17-15 lead. The Chants cut the lead to 17-16 but the Eagles would answer with four-straight points including back-to-back kills from Rachel Lenz. Up 21-17 the Eagles held off the Chants over the final points to take a 25-22 first set victory.

The Eagles led most of the second set by three to four points. Down 21-15, CCU went on a 7-1 run to tie the match at 22. Just a few points later the Chants earned their first off four set points at 24-23. After the Eagles answered the bell three times CCU finally put the set away on a kill by Horvath giving the Chants a 29-27 victory.

Coastal trailed early in the third set but a 6-1 run midway through the set opened up a 15-12 advantage for the Chants. CCU never trailed from that point on but the Eagles were able to tie the set at 18 but a 7-1 run to close the stanza gave the Chants a 25-19 third set win.

The Chants never led in the fourth or fifth set as the Eagles took the fourth set 25-21 and the fifth 15-11. Coastal rallied late in the fifth set as the team fought through two match points before a kill by Lenz closed the match.

Winthrop was led by Stephanie Palmer who recorded a triple-double and was just two kills away from a quadruple-double. She had eight kills, 32 assists, 13 digs and 10 blocks. Kristin Cruse added a team-high 18 kills and 18 digs.

Coastal hit .155 as a team and were led by Nagy who hit .333. The Eagles had a .182 attack percentage and were led by Cruse at .265.

The Chanticleers will return to action tomorrow, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. as they host Presbyterian College in Big South Conference action.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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