CHARLESTON, SC September 6, 2013 – CofC’s Darcy Dorton knocked a season-high 16 kills to lead College of Charleston (5-0) to a 3-1 (25-23, 26-28, 25-19, 25-13) win over Coastal Carolina (1-3) in the first night of the Hampton Inn CofC Invitational.
Charleston rebounded from a rough first two sets to hit .299 on the match and keep the Chanticleer attack at bay with a .138 hitting mark. The win kept CofC’s streak going, placing Charleston at 5-0 to start the season.
Coastal’s size caused problems for Charleston early on with CCU tallying seven of their eight team blocks in the first two sets. But Charleston responded with power and craftiness to dominate the third and fourth sets, hitting .467 and .500 respectively.
Dorton’s 16 kills led the team and she was able to win points efficiently, hitting .306. Emily Neideffer added 11 kills and three blocks, while Cara Howley rebounded from a tough start to finish with 10 kills and three blocks. Melissa Morello picked up her second double-double of the season with 10 kills (.400) and 14 digs, while Sloane White (seven kills) and Kerstin Koehler (eight kills) also helped the Cougar cause.
All three CofC setters tallied double digits in assists, but it was the spark of freshman setter Lexi Rhein in the later sets that helped push the Cougars’ momentum. Rhein finished with a season-best 13 assists and eight digs. Taeler Davis had 23 assists, while Kallie McKown notched 14.
“I was proud of the way that we bounced back,” head coach Jason Kepner said. “We started sloppy with our passing and you have to give credit to Coastal’s strong play. But we responded well late, and Lexi [Rhein] gave us a great boost off the bench. Those are the types of wins that good teams are able to grind out.”
Coastal Carolina was led by Kindra Bailey’s 12 kills and .458 hitting mark. Libero Lindsay Gill did well to dig a match-high 16 balls, and three different players tallied three blocks.
Charleston built a 19-13 lead early in the first set, but Coastal rallied to pull within 21-20 after a block from Lian Bernett and Bailey. A big kill from Koehler set CofC up with set point (24-22), and a bad attack from Gabriella Horvath gave CofC a 25-23 set victory.
The second set was back and forth the entire way, keeping the fans on edge for both allegiances. CofC fell behind 22-18 late, but rattled off four in a row to tie the score. Charleston answered each CCU point with kills, but it was two straight setting errors that undid CofC and gave the Chanticleers a 28-26 set win to tie the match.
Charleston pulled away late in the third set with a 6-1 run, punctuated by two kills from Howley. A Coastal service error gave CofC a 25-19 win and set up the fourth set momentum. CofC never trailed past a 1-1 tie in the fourth, hitting .500 on the way to a rousing 25-13 romp over the Chanticleers to win the match, 3-1.
The Cougars will face S.C. State (1 p.m.) and Indiana (7 p.m.) tomorrow in continuing action at the Hampton Inn CofC Invitational at TD Arena. Both matches will be broadcast on CofC’s UStream account.