Lady Chants open season with four-team tournament

The Coastal Carolina volleyball team welcomes Youngstown State, Wofford and Big Ten member Iowa for its season-opening tournament inside The HTC Center on Friday.

The Chanticleers return all six starters from last season plus their libero. CCU lost just two seniors off last season’s squad and has added four talented freshmen to the mix.

After a slow start to the 2012 season, the Chants went 14-6 over their final 20 matches while making their way into the Big South Conference Tournament championship match. With 13 players returning from that squad the team continued to work hard throughout the spring playing exhibition matches against opponents from the ACC, Big 12 and SEC.

The 2013 schedule will not get any easier as the Chants have scheduled matches against Iowa (Big Ten), Indiana (Big 10), Georgia Tech (ACC), Tennessee (SEC) and South Carolina (SEC).

The Chants kick things off this Friday at home against Youngstown State at 6 p.m. CCU will then take on Wofford at 11 a.m. on Saturday before closing out the tournament at 7 p.m. against Iowa.

Leading the group of returners are five seniors including setters Lauren Alejo and Sam Skryd, middle blocker and preseason all-conference selection Kindra Bailey, outside hitter Meghan Laffin and defensive specialist Michelle Fowle. Also amongst the returners is preseason all-conference selection Gabriella Horvath who led the team with 3.00 kills per set last season.

Entering the 2012 season the Chants were picked to finish sixth in the league under first-year head coach Jozsef Forman and had one preseason all-conference pick.  The Chants went on to finish 14-14 overall and 10-4 in league play to capture the number two seed heading into the conference tournament. This season Coastal was picked to finish second in the league in the preseason poll and was awarded two preseason all-conference nods.

In just one season at the helm coach Forman helped raise CCU’s averages in almost every category including kills per game, assists per game, attack percentage, service aces per game and blocks per game.

The Chants will rely heavily on their returning core this season but a talented group of freshmen will be vying for their chance to make an impact. During the 2012 season all three freshmen made a big difference for the success of the Chants including Horvath, Eszter Nagy and Monica Hall. All three worked their way into the starting lineup by seasons end and two were named to the Big South Conference all-freshman team. 2013 freshmen Beatris Petelkova, Morgan Hammer, Miona Milovanovic and Annayka Legros will all look to follow in their footsteps this season.

For Friday’s home opener students can earn 500 GOTEAL Rewards points at the game by checking into the HTC Center on Foursquare. If you haven’t already, be sure to register today on GoTealRewards.com!

For Saturday night’s match with Iowa free Papa John’s Pizza will be made available to fans at the game (while supplies last).

Photo by Joel Beachum, Carolina Click Photos

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