Lady Chants blow past G-W to reach Big South semis

ccuvolley-14skyrdCoastal (23-6, 11-3) defeated Gardner-Webb (12-21, 5-9) in four sets for the second time this season, coming out on top with a 25-15, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20 line to advance to the Big South Conference tournament semifinals.

Coastal was led by Leah Hardeman’s double-double, as the Big South Player and Freshman of the Year finished with 17 kills, a match high, and 18 digs. Hardeman also tallied two aces and two blocks to lead all players with 21 points. Kate Martin and Annayka Legros also finished with double-digit kills for the Chants, as the former recorded 15 and the latter 13 to go along with her two blocks. Sam Skryd led all players with 43 assists, while Jenna Orner’s 21 digs led the Chants.

As a team the Chants edged the Bulldogs in hitting percentage, .262-.158, while finishing with eight team blocks to Gardner-Webb’s two.

The Chants came out of the gate firing, hitting .294 and putting down 13 digs to win the set by a 10-point margin. Hardeman paced the Chants with 6 kills in the set, while Orner and Alexis Flynn each had five digs. Eszter Nagy recorded her first of four blocks in the opening set, as did Legros.

GWU played Coastal tighter in the second set, but could not find an answer to Legros, who put down seven of the Chants’ 16 kills. Coastal led 9-5 in the early going, and Flynn served the Chants to the next four points to open up the lead. GWU never recovered from the steak, and the Chants closed the set with a five-point margin.

GWU bounced back in the third, outhitting Coastal .244-.179. Cockrell, a first team all-conference selection, had five kills in the set, as did Montour. Gardner-Webb looked to have the set wrapped up with a 23-20 lead, but two Bulldog errors brought the Chants within one. The comeback attempt fell short, however, as kills from Montour and Brianna Starr tipped the set in GWU’s favor.

The deciding set saw Coastal’s highest hitting percentage of the night at .385. Martin and Hardeman combined for 12 kills, while Nagy and Lian Bernett each posted two. Bernett also finished with two blocks in the final game. Coastal held the lead for the majority of the set, but Gardner-Webb threatened late, bringing the score to within two points. Two late kills from Martin, however, put away any thoughts of a comeback as Coastal prevailed 25-20.

No. 1 Radford defeated No. 8 Campbell in the day’s first quarterfinal match, and will advance to face No. 4 Winthrop, who downed No. 5 Presbyterian in three sets.

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