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Coastal Carolina Outlasts Louisiana Volleyball in Sun Belt Quarterfinals
Chanticleers had the extra firepower to stay a step ahead of the Ragin’ Cajuns
FOLEY, Ala. – Coastal Carolina won an offensive shootout with Louisiana Volleyball at the Foley Events Center to capture a 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-20) win in the quarterfinal round of the 2021 Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
The loss eliminated Louisiana (15-11) from the tournament, bringing a close to the first season under the guidance of head coach Kristi Gray.
Both teams hit above .200 and averaged over 12 kills per set, but it was the Chanticleers (19-8) who used a .382 hitting percentage and an average of 16-plus kills per set to their advantage to advance to Saturday's semifinal round.
The Ragin' Cajuns fired away at a .324 clip in the first set (14 K, 3 E, 34 TA) in an effort to grab early control of the contest. There were 16 ties and six lead changes before Coastal Carolina could capture the opening frame.
Coco Gillett, who scored a match-high 14 kills, gave Louisiana a two-point edge at 21-19 in Set 1 with a kill, then halted a two-point CCU run with her four kill of the stanza that provided a 22-21 edge.
After Coastal Carolina forged ahead 24-22 the Ragin' Cajuns battled back, a theme throughout the match, drawing even and forcing extra points after a Hannah Ramirez ace.
The Chanticleers took the opening set after back-to-back kills following Ramirez's ace, then benefitted from identical 7-2 starts in the ensuing sets to complete the match sweep.
Trailing by as many as eight points in Set 2, the Ragin' Cajuns stormed back and pulled even after Gillett's 12th kill of the night forged an 18-all tie. At 20-20 Louisiana had the chance to take the lead but a shot from Kelsey Bennett was just over the back line, then the Chanticleers posted four straight kills to open the 2-0 match lead.
Louisiana nearly erased a seven-point deficit in Set 3 when a Gillett kill capped off a 6-2 run that lowered Coastal's lead to 18-17. Starting with a service error, CCU won the next three points to create separation.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Gillett's match-leading kills tally increased her output in the SBC Tournament to 23 kills. The production came on just 28 swings and at a .321 hitting percentage (14 K, 5 E, 28 TA).
Bennett netted eight kills (8 K, 4 E, 24 TA) and found the floor four times off of nine attempts in Set 3 as the Ragin' Cajuns attempted to extend the match.
Kara Barnes shined again in the middle with six kills on only eight swings against only one error. Returning to the SBC Tournament for the first time since 2019, Barnes closed the event with 17 kills over 23 swings while hitting .609.
Bennett totaled nine digs to lead a group of four Ragin' Cajuns with at least six digs. Louisiana out-dug Coastal Carolina 37-30.
For the second straight night Siena DeCambra and Reka Kotorman finished 16 and 15 in assists, respectively. They each contributed six digs and Kotorman scored an ace.
In her final match with Louisiana, and as a collegiate volleyball player, Ramirez led the team with two service aces.
Louisiana had three blocks and it was Barnes along with Chinelo Ogogor who had a hand in all three stuffs.
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