Lady Chants hurting but hopeful for volleyball season

The Coastal Carolina volleyball team will open the 2011 season with some bumps and bruises, but also with high hopes for a successful campaign.

Picked to finish third in the Big South Conference, the Lady Chanticleers plan to surpass those expectations and battle for a crown in 2011. But first they must get healthy from a brutal training camp.

“With several unforeseen injuries through the preseason, we are a little nervous entering tournament play,” said Coastal Carolina head coach Kristen Bauer. “We are however, excited to see how our team responds to adversity and true competition.”

Coastal returns four starters from last season, led by sophomore Meghan Laffin, who was chosen to the Preseason All-Big South Conference team. Laffin was a member of the Big South All-Freshman team and was also a two-time Big South Freshman of the Week honoree during the 2010 season.

During her freshman season Laffin played in every match for the Chanticleers. She ended the season ranked second on the team in service aces (27) and total blocks (88), as well as third in kills (229).

Other returning starters include senior outside hitter Erika Lightsey and sophomores Lauren Alejo and Sam Skryd, who was positioned to be the team’s starting setter, but she will get a late start to the season due to a foot injury.

A lineup that includes six newcomers might not be such a bad thing in light of last year’s disappointing campaign. Coastal went 14-18 finish and loss in the Big South tournament quarterfinals after being picked as the conference’s preseason favorites last year.

“Last year definitely we underachieved because I think we had higher expectations, and we had very, very good players,” Bauer said. “We just had three freshmen on the floor and three seniors on the floor the majority of the time, and we just had a hard time meshing.”

“I know we’re young, so by the end of the season we want to be fighting for the championship,” she said. “I truly think that we could be in the championship.”

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