CCU’s Hardeman, Forman top list of six All-BSC picks

ccuvolley-10Leah Hardeman was named the Big South Volleyball Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, Joszef Forman was tabbed Coach of the Year and a total of six Chanticleer student-athletes were named All-Big South as the conference released its annual award-winners on Tuesday.

Hardeman was additionally named a first team all-conference selection for the second straight year, as was senior middle blocker Eszter Nagy. The two become the first Chants to repeat as first team members since Kindra Bailey was voted to the list in 2012-13, and it is just the second time in program history that a pair of Chants was voted first team in consecutive years (Katherine Jensen-Spencer/Jennifer Hampton, 2004-05)

Lian Bernett and Annayka Legros were voted second team All-Big South, while Natasa Savovic and Sara Boothe were tabbed honorable mention all-conference. Boothe was additionally voted to the all-freshman team.

Hardeman, a sophomore outside hitter from Clarkston, Ga., becomes the first Chanticleer in program history to win multiple Player of the Year awards after taking Player and Freshman of the Year honors in 2014. She is also just the third player in Big South history to win the award in consecutive years, and first since Radford’s Katie Sherwood in 2000-01.

Hardeman leads the Big South in both kills and points per set this season, and ranks in the top 10 in hitting percentage. She leads the Chants with 10 double-doubles, and has tallied double figure kills in all but nine of Coastal’s matches this season, despite only six of them lasting longer than three sets.

Nagy currently ranks fifth among all NCAA Division I players and leads the Big South with a .438 hitting percentage, which sets a conference single-season record (25 point scoring, 2008-present). The senior has hit over .400 in 17 matches this season, leads the Chants in blocks per set and is second on the team in kills per set. Nagy was named a Big South Player of the Week on Sept. 28.

Bernett is a second team all-conference selection for the second time in her career, having earned the honor as a redshirt sophomore in 2013. Earlier this year she became just the second Chanticleer in program history to reach 1,000 kills, 1,000 digs and 100 service aces for her career. This season, Bernett has recorded three double-doubles while registering double figure kills in six matches. She is an asset on all areas of the court, averaging over two kills, three digs and one assist per set against conference opponents.

Legros is earning her first all-conference selection after a breakout season as a junior. The Kennesaw, Ga., native currently ranks 81st in the nation and fifth in the Big South with a .352 hitting percentage. She closely follows Nagy in both total blocks and blocks per set, ranking second on the team in both categories. Her play improved dramatically against conference opponents as she led the team hitting and finished second in kills per set.

Savovic, a junior transfer from College of Southern Idaho, proved to be top producer in her first season as a Chanticleer. She reached double figure kills in six matches, and digs in five, while ranking in the top four on the team in kills per set, hitting percentage and points. She is also seventh in the Big South averaging 0.31 aces per set.

Boothe took over primary setting duties early in the year as a freshman, setting a Coastal team that leads the Big South in assists, kills and hitting percentage. The Lincoln, Neb., native closed the regular season ranked fifth in the conference in assists per set. She has recorded three double-doubles on the season, surpassed 40 assists in two three-set matches and has topped 30 assists in nine others.

Forman led the first Coastal team in program history to finish the Big South regular season schedule with a perfect 14-0 record. The 2015 Chants were just the ninth conference team overall to accomplish the feat, fifth since the Big South switched to a 14-game format in 1999 and first since Winthrop in 2006. Additionally, Coastal’s overall winning percentage of .846 (22-4) is the best regular season finish in school history, while the Chants current 15-match winning streak is also a program record.

The Big South regular season champions enter the conference tournament this weekend as the No. 1 seed for the fifth time in program history. The Chants hold a 3-1 all-time record playing as the top seed. Coastal will face No. 8 Charleston Southern in the opening match of the tournament at noon on Thursday. The Chants have won their previous two meetings against the Bucs this season in straight sets, and are 7-3 all-time against CSU in Big South tournament matches.

Photo courtesy of Big South Conference

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