Davidson, N.C. - The College of Charleston Cougars defeated the Furman Paladins in five sets (25-12, 12-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-13) Monday night to win the 2012 Southern Conference Volleyball Tournament. With the win, the Cougars earned the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament and will learn their opponent during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday.
The Cougars (26-7, 14-2 SoCon) were led by SoCon Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Sloane White, who recorded 16 kills and six blocks in the match. Darcy Dorton tallied 18 kills and 11 digs for the team's only double-double, while Emily Neideffer and Melissa Morello recorded 11 kills each. All-Tournament selection Taeler Davis dished out 53 assists, while senior libero and All-Tournament selection Emily Shelton added 30 digs.
Furman (24-10, 10-6 SoCon) was led by All-Tournament honoree Chandler Ambrester, who recorded 17 kills, 17 digs, and six blocks. All-Tournament selection Christina Dorismond also recorded 17 kills and added two blocks. Seniors Natalie Braun and Caroline Adams each recorded 10 kills, while setter Jo Wilks dished out 55 assists.
The first set saw College of Charleston jump out to a quick 9-3 lead, sparked by the solid offensive and defensive play of Morello. Furman then cut CofC's lead to 15-10, before White served seven consecutive points for the Cougars, to stretch their lead to 22-10. The Cougars then used a kill and block by Morello and a kill by Neideffer to take set one, 25-12.CofC hit .333 in the set with 13 kills, while holding the Paladins to a -.036 hitting percentage.
The second set was almost a mirror image of set one. Furman jumped out to an early 6-1 lead thanks to the offensive play of Adams that forced a CofC timeout. The Paladins kept the pressure on the Cougars in set two, sparked by the offense of Braun and Adams, and closed out the set on a 5-1 run to take set two, 25-12, and tie the set at one. The Paladins held the Cougars to a .000 hitting percentage in set two, and hit .364 as a team, with 14 kills.
The teams traded points in set three until, with the score tied at 12, Furman used kills from Ambrester to take a 15-12 lead. College of Charleston then used a 9-3 run to regain the lead and push it to 22-18. A kill by Dorismond pulled Furman to within two at 23-21, but CofC used a White kill and a huge block by Koehler and Morello to take set three, 25-21.
With the score tied at 10 in set four, Furman used a 6-1 run to take a 16-11 advantage. However, the Cougars clawed back to cut the Furman lead to 17-16. In the end, the Paladins, who recorded 19 kills in the set, held off the CofC rally to take set four, 25-22.
College of Charleston took advantage of a Furman error and two consecutive blocks by Koehler and White to jump out to a 6-3 lead in set five. After a timeout, the Paladins went on a 4-1 run to tie the score at eight before a White kill put the Cougars ahead, 8-7, at the switch. CofC then used a key block by Dorton to take an 11-8 lead and force a Furman timeout. After the timeout, the Paladins used huge kills by Ambrester to cut the CofC lead to 14-13, before a kill by White won the set for the Courgars, 15-13, and the match, 3-2.
College of Charleston earns the SoCon's automatic bid to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament and will learn their opponent on Sunday.
2012 SoCon Volleyball All-Tournament Team
Kym Coley, So., MB, Georgia Southern
Michaela Reesor, So., OH, Samford
Christina Dorismond, Jr., MB, Furman
Chandler Ambrester, Sr., OH, Furman
Taeler Davis, Jr., S, College of Charleston
Emily Shelton, Sr., L, College of Charleston
Sloane Whilte, So., MB/RS, College of Charleston
SoCon Volleyball Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Sloane White, So., MB/RS, College of Charleston