Coastal Carolina’s Leah Hardeman Leads Blue to CNT-Minneapolis Title

  0 Wendy Mayer | July 01st, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, U.S. Women's Volleyball

USA Collegiate National Team – Minneapolis

After dropping its two round-robin matches, USA Blue had one chance to break through into the win column, a play-in game on Friday morning with a spot in the finals on the line.

The team did just that, downing USA White 22-25, 25-15, 23-25, 15-13, 15-13, including a shortened Set 4 due to time constraints, to move on.

“I hate losing,” Northwestern setter Taylor Tashima said. “We all hate to losing, and I think going down in three sets in both pool play matches and not taking a set – we had to come back, work our game plan and really put something together to beat these teams.”

USA Blue hit at a .278 clip and 40 percent efficiency and outblocked USA White 10-4. Team White outserved Blue 4-3, while posting a .272 hitting effort and 39 percent efficiency.

BYU’s Veronica Jones-Perry led a group of four USA Blue players with double-digit point tallies. Jones-Perry tallied 19 points, with 18 kills and a block. Coastal Carolina’s Leah Hardeman (16), Louisville’s Amanda Green (13), Colorado State’s Kirstie Hillyer (10) followed. Hardeman downed 14 kills and added two blocks, while Green chipped in 10 kills, two blocks and an ace. Hillyer put up a team-best four stuffs.

Purdue’s Sherridan Atkinson racked up a match-high 22 points, with 21 kills and one block, to lead USA White. North Carolina’s Julia Scoles added 15 points, with 14 kills and an ace.

Once in the championship match, USA Blue continued its newfound success, squeaking past previously undefeated USA Red in five sets. Team Blue won 20-25, 26-24, 25-23, 24-26, 15-13.

Hardeman paced the victors with 29 points, including 25 kills, two aces and two blocks, in a match decided by one point (111-110). Jones-Perry added 21 points, with 19 kills, a block and an ace. Hillyer chipped in 14 points, with nine kills and a team-best four blocks. Green rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points, including nine kills and two blocks.

As a team, USA Blue outhit USA Red .402 to .345 and hit at a 47 percent kill efficiency. Blue also outdid Red in kills (67-56). Red tallied eight aces and nine blocks, while Blue managed seven aces and nine blocks.

Michigan State’s Holly Toliver led the runners up with 19 points, while Creighton’s Taryn Kloth added 18. Florida’s Darrielle King and Washington State’s Casey Schoenlein chipped in 13 points apiece. Kloth tallied a team-best 16 kills, while Toliver added 15 as well as two blocks and two aces. King put up a team-leading three blocks.

A look at the individual team rosters is here.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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