Lady Chants sweep through Georgia Tech Invitational

The Coastal Carolina volleyball team won its final two matches of the Atlanta Midtown Invitational on Saturday, defeating Siena (25-21, 25-20, 25-20) and The Citadel (25-19, 21-25, 25-12, 25-12) to remain the only unbeaten team as tournament play concluded.

In addition to winning the tournament, the 2015 Chanticleers become the first Coastal team to start the season with a 4-0 record since 1996. The Chants won the Big South championship that year and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament where they fell in three sets to Georgia Tech.

Leah Hardman led the Chants offensively in the four-match tournament totaling 60 kills to average 4.00 per set. The sophomore outside hitter also tallied a team-leading six aces and recorded six blocks to pace the Chants with 69.5 points.

Eszter Nagy finished the tournament with a .493 hitting percentage while putting down 40 kills to average 3.33 per set. Fellow middle blocker Annayka Legros led Coastal with 11 blocks, while freshman Alise Petersone finished a close second with nine. Overall the Chants totaled 28 blocks on the weekend (five solo, 46 assists).

Aleksandra Djuric begins the season averaging 10.15 assists per set as the sophomore setter totaled 132 through the weekend’s four matches.

Despite taking the win in three sets, Coastal’s match versus Siena was a close affair that featured 22 ties and 11 lead changes. Each side finished with 39 kills and 36 assists, though the Chants held the edge in hitting percentage (.224-.102) and blocks (8-5).

Siena jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the opening set forcing Coastal to use its first timeout. Coastal rallied to tie the set at 11 points apiece, but a 6-2 Saints’ run gave Siena a 17-13 lead forcing the Chants to use a second timeout. Siena committed a serving error coming out of the break, sparking a 7-3 Coastal run that tied the game at 20-20. The Chants won five of the next six points to close the set.

Coastal trailed in the early portion of the second set as well until an ace from Natasa Savovic tied the game at 16. A combined block from Hardeman and Legros gave the Chants the lead for good, however, and Coastal used an 8-4 run to close out the set.

The third set mirrored the second as both teams were knotted at 16 apiece before a service error from Siena gave Coastal the lead. Three kills from Legros (all assisted by Sara Boothe) as well as several errors from Siena helped the Chants close out the match.

The Citadel recorded 17 kills in its 25-21 second-set victory over Coastal, but managed just 12 for the remainder of the match as the Chants held the Bulldogs to -.069 and .107 hitting percentages in the third and fourth sets, respectively.

Hardeman had 19 kills – including seven in the fourth set – and hit .545 in the match. Nagy followed with 15 kills at a .481 clip and led the Chants with three blocks. Djuric surpassed 40 assists for the second match in the tournament as she finished one shy of her career best with 47. The Chants led from start to finish in both the third and fourth sets.

Photo courtesy of Big South Conference

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