Lady Chants top Tennessee to win CCU Invitational title

ccuvolley-13The Coastal Carolina women’s volleyball team was crowned tournament champion on Saturday as the Chanticleers wrapped up the Coastal Carolina Invitational with a 3-1 (25-18, 17-25, 25-20, 25-18) win over Tennessee in the weekend’s final match. It is the second consecutive tournament that the Chanticleers have won.

Saturday’s win improves the Chants’ overall record to 7-2 and extends Coastal’s winning streak to six matches. The Lady Vols (5-5) finished the tournament in second place after winning two of their three games. Kennesaw picked up its lone win of the tournament on Saturday morning over Loyola, placing the Owls in third place and the Greyhounds in fourth.

Senior Jenna Orner was named the Tournament MVP while junior Eszter Nagy earned all-tournament honors.

Senior middle blocker Katie Martin set a personal single-match record against Tennessee with a game-high 10 blocks, five of which were made in the opening set.

Leah Hardeman paced the Chants’ attack with 17 kills. The freshman was one dig shy of recording a double-double, and also tallied two aces and five blocks.

Nagy put down 14 of her 26 attack attempts to finish the match with a .385 hitting percentage. Sam Skryd led Coastal with 38 assists while also tallying three kills, two aces, seven digs and a block.

Coastal took an early lead in the opening set after receiving four straight points off of serves from Orner. The Lady Vols tightened the gap midway through the set, but two kills from Hardeman and two blocks from Martin propelled the Chants to a 22-18 lead. Two attack errors from Tennessee and a final block from Martin sealed the match for the Chants.

Tennessee controlled play for almost the entire second set, using a 9-4 run to close out the game 25-17.

The Chants rebounded after the break, taking ten of the set’s first 15 points to build a comfortable lead. The Lady Vols crept back into the match, eventually cutting the Chants’ lead to 23-20, but Hardeman thwarted the comeback with a kill and a service ace.

In the match’s final set, the Lady Vols held a slim 8-7 lead before Skryd served the Chants to 10 consecutive points. The lead would be enough for Coastal to close out the match.

Coastal outhit Tennessee .211 to .173 as a team and won the battle at the net with 14 blocks to the Volunteer’s six.

Jamie Lea and Ashley Mariani each recorded 14 kills for the Lady Vols while Lexi Dempsey was credited with a match-high 41 assists. Lea also notched 17 digs to complete the double-double.

The Chants return to action inside The HTC Center on Tuesday night as they host the College of Charleston for Coastal’s first non-tournament match of the season. The Chants and Cougars are set to square off a 7 pm.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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