Lady Chants top Highlanders to reach Big South semifinals

No. 2-seeded Coastal Carolina defeated No. 7 Radford, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big South Volleyball Championship on Thursday evening at Paul Porter Arena on the campus of Gardner-Webb University.

The Chanticleers will play the winner of No. 3 High Point-No. 6 UNC Asheville in the semifinals Friday night at 7 p.m.  It is Coastal’s first appearance in the semifinals since winning the title in 2009.

Coastal capitalized on strong hitting and Radford’s errors to take the fourth set and win the match, 3-1.  Chanticleer Katie Martin put away five kills and teammate Kindra Bailey recorded a couple of aces to help Coastal win the clinching set.

Both teams came out strong to start the fourth set but the Chanticleers went on a 5-0 run to gain an 11-5 lead.  Radford rallied back with a 3-0 run of its own to cut the Chants lead down to three.  Errors in Radford’s attack allowed Coastal to eventually lengthen its lead back to nine.  With the score 21-13, Radford’s Katelyn Meeks tried to serve her team back in the match.  The Highlanders once again cut Coastal’s lead down to five, but the Chanticleers closed out the set on a Martin swing.

The Chanticleers had a 2-1 set advantage after winning the third set, 25-18.  Coastal Carolina jumped to a 5-0 lead.  Radford tried to close the lead, but a kill from Gabriella Horvath gave Coastal the momentum.  Chanticleer Megan Laffin put down some strong swings as Coastal began capitalizing on Radford’s defensive errors.  Radford scored six unanswered points late in the set, but a Horvath kill ended the third set.

Coastal took the first set, 25-16 for the 1-0 lead.  The Chanticleers came out strong offensively with Bailey posting four kills and Horvath recording five kills.  Radford won the second set, 25-23, to tie things up at 1-1.  The two teams battled back and forth but Radford put up two big blocks late in the set to give the Highlanders the 24-22 advantage.  A hitting error on Coastal Carolina’s attack secured the second set for Radford.

The Chanticleers were led by Horvath, who had 14 kills, 8 digs and one ace.  She was the highest scoring player for Coastal, earning 20 points with her performance.  Emily Carlin spearheaded Radford’s offense in the losing effort.  She had 15 kills with a .379 hitting percentage, seven digs and one service ace.  Katelyn Meeks anchored the Highlander defense, posting 16 digs in the match.

Coastal Carolina improves to 13-13 on the year, while Radford ends its season at 16-16.  Coastal Carolina will be making its 16th appearance in the Big South Volleyball Championship semifinals on Friday evening.

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