Camels down Hampton, 3-1

Lindsey Coats (Courtesy of Bennett Scarborough)
Lindsey Coats (Courtesy of Bennett Scarborough)

MOREHEAD, KY. – Campbell improved to 7-2 under first-year head coach Greg Goral with a 3-1 (25-16, 13-25, 25-23, 25-22) victory over Hampton on Friday night to open the Morehead State Eagle Challenge. A total of 13 blocks were registered by the squad, led by middle blockers junior Lorin Thomas (Raleigh, N.C.) and senior Lindsey Coats (Dunn, N.C.) with seven and six, respectively.

"Our two middles did a phenomenal job tonight," said coach Goral. "Hampton did not have answer for Lindsey [Coats] in the middle. Lorin [Thomas] also hit for a high average and blocked a lot of balls. Their blocks definitely helped us create more energy on our side."

Coats posted 13 kills and a .476 attacking pct., only committing three mistakes, to pace the offense against Hampton (4-3). Four hitters contributed eight or nine kills in junior outside Jessica Groen (Las Cruces, N.C.), sophomore outsides Katelyn Layden (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and Alexis Hein (Murrieta, Calif.) and Thomas.

Tallying a 36-assist performance was senior setter Heather Wilson (Concord, N.C).

Sophomore libero Mary Crema (Loveland, Ohio) recorded 17 digs to lead the back row. Eight attacks each were dug up by Hein and Layden.

The Pirates were paced by Krista Kraskura with 18 kills, while Vendula Strakova tallied 15 kills and a match-high 19 digs to post a double-double. Bibiany Fonseca registered 38 assists.

A 10-4 rally opened the first frame for Campbell, forcing a Hampton timeout. The Camels cruised to a 25-16 victory, totaling 11 kills on just two mistakes for a .321 hitting pct.

After spitting the first 17 points, the Pirates ended the second frame on a 21-5 run to knot the match, 1-1, with a 25-13 victory.

"I have been impressed with how our team fights night in and night out," said coach Goral. "It doesn't matter who we are playing. We make the neccessary adjustments and respond with the offense we can find.

"Even on a night when our passing wasn't as sharp as it needed to be, we still found ways to score points and stop runs when we needed to."

With Hampton holding an 8-5 advantage, Crema served the Camels to five-straight points and a lead that they would not relinquish. Hampton did made a late rally, scoring seven of the final nine points, but came up short as Campbell won 25-23 on a kill by Thomas.

Neither team controlled the fourth frame until the Camels grabbed the lead with a 6-1 run, highlighted by kills from Coats (2) and Groen (2), 22-19.  The Pirates tied the set, 22-all, before a kill by Layden, ace by Crema and block by the duo of Thomas/Layden secured the victory.

"Our ability to finish sets is a unique quality for us to possess," said coach Goral. "At urgent moments in the match, our players decide as a team to work together and get really focused. They work to get it done and don't worry about the score after that. They just go play."

Campbell continues the Eagle Challenge on Saturday with a pair of matches vs. West Virginia at 11 a.m. and host Morehead State at 7 p.m.

The Camels return battle in-state rival UNC Wilmington on Wednesday at 7 p.m. inside Gore Arena/John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center. Big South Network will provide a free video broadcast of the event.