CHARLESTON, S.C. - No. 2 Winthrop (20-7) survived a scare from No. 7 Coastal Carolina (13-20) Thursday night in the third quarterfinal match of the 2011 Big South Volleyball Championship presented by Musco Lighting, at the Buccaneer Field House on the campus of Charleston Southern University.
Lian Bernett and Stephanie Palmer combined for three early kills, helping Coastal Carolina hop out to a 5-1 lead. Winthrop would string together three in a row thanks to kills from Jennica Mullins and Kristin Cruse to cut the deficit to two, 7-5. A Brittany Blackman kill would put CCU up, 15-8. Two late-game kills by Becca Toor would shrink the Coastal Carolina lead to four, 24-20, before a Winthrop service error would give Coastal Carolina the set, 25-20.
Kills by Mullins and Cruse would break a 9-9 tie in the second set and put Winthrop up, 13-9. Behind kills from Meghan Laffin and Bernett allowed CCU to close the gap to one, 14-13. Led by three Toor kills, Winthrop would string together eight unanswered to extend the lead to nine, 23-14. A kill by Carolyn Weed would give Winthrop the second set victory, 25-16.
Weed would have two early kills to put Winthrop up 4-2 in set three. An Erica Lightsey kill would bring CCU within three, 9-6. Kindra Bailey would send in a kill to bring the Chanticleers within one, 13-12. Toor and Palmer scored back-to-back kills to put the Eagles up 19-15. CCU would score four consecutive points to cut the Winthrop lead to one, 21-20. Both teams would exchange kills late, with Winthrop weathering a late Coastal Carolina run, to take the third set, 25-23.
Winthrop jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in set four. Consecutive Cruse kills would put The Eagles up 7-4. A kill by Lightsey would bring The Chanticleers within three, 8-5, but CCU would get no closer as Winthrop took the fourth set, 25-13.
Toor led the way for Winthrop with 16 kills on 25 total attacks (.640). Palmer gave out 47 helpers while Catherine Brusie dug up 18.
Coastal Carolina was led by Bailey's 12 kills and Sam Skryd's 31 assists. Lindsay Gill had 19 digs while Lightsey added 10 to go along with 10 kills.
Winthrop will move on to face the winner of the No.3 Radford No.6 High Point game in the second semifinal match on Friday at 7 p.m.
Winthrop Head Coach Julie Torbett
"I feel like our middle game was on, Conference player of the year Becca Toor played great with 16 kills. Our defense was balanced, and I am happy with the outcome."
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Kristen Bauer
"I thought Winthrop played great, especially their middles, it made it very hard for us to compete."