DAVIDSON, N.C. – Four different Cougars reached double digits in kills and the College of Charleston advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament with a 3-1 (25-15, 24-26, 25-20, 25-14) win over Chattanooga on Saturday afternoon at Davidson’s Belk Arena.
Charleston (24-7, 14-2) held Chattanooga (14-18, 8-8) to just .086 hitting and the Cougars outdug the Mocs 75-62.
Sophomore Sloane White tied her season high with 18 kills as she hit a career-high .552. White also made six digs and three blocks. Kerstin Koehler hit .458 with a 13 kills and five blocks while Emily Neideffer notched 11 kills and four blocks. The Cougars finished with 10 blocks as a team.
Junior Darcy Dorton made 15 kills, but struggled with her efficiency as she also committed 11 attacking errors.
Junior Taeler Davis tied her career high in assists, setting up 63 points for the CofC hitters while also making four digs.
Defensively, Emily Shelton and Melissa Morello were all over the court digging balls and keeping rallies alive. Shelton tallied 22 digs and Morello set a new career high with 20 digs and she also made nine kills.
“It was a very hard-played match by both sides,” head coach Jason Kepner said. “There were times when we imposed our style on them, and when they got us to play how they wanted. They induced some long rallies and took us out of our rhythm. Ultimately, we played well enough to win the match and that’s all that matters in tournament play.”Chattanooga was led by Sarah Batterton’s 11 kills and Paula Passmore’s 23 digs. Heather Parman also made eight kills.
Sparked by a kill from Koehler, the Cougars went on an early 6-1 run in the first set to pull to a 9-4 lead, one they would never relinquish. Late in the set, the Cougars used a kill by Neideffer to ignite a 8-3 run to take the set, 25-15. College of Charleston used balanced hitting from Morello and Neideffer to out-hit the Mocs .250-.032.
Set two saw Chattanooga jump out to an early 6-0 lead, highlighted by kills from Christina Teter and Bridget Camacho. The teams then traded point for much of the match, before College of Charleston used three huge kills from Dorton to cut the Mocs’ lead to 18-16. The Cougars then fought back to tie the match at 24, capitalizing on two Chattanooga errors and getting a huge block from Morello. However, behind the play of Batterton, Chattanooga held on for the 26-24 set two win.
In set three, the teams traded points in the early going, before Chattanooga used a kill by Gainer to take a 13-10 lead. College of Charleston then rattled off four straight points, highlighted by a Neideffer kill, to take a 14-13 lead. Both squads battled to an 18-18 tie but three straight CofC blocks from Koehler permanently swung them momentum to the Cougars and CofC pulled out the set, 25-20.
College of Charleston shot out to a quick 7-2 lead over the Mocs in the fourth set. The Cougars used a balanced offensive attack to maintain their lead and rattled off seven-straight points to stretch the lead to 10 at 24-14. The Cougars then used a Dorton kill to take the set, 25-15, and win the match, 3-1
The Cougars will now face the winner of the Davidson/Samford match and will play in Sunday’s 4:30 p.m. semifinal.