Coastal Carolina can boast about having the top female athlete in the Sun Belt Conference.
Leah Hardeman, a previous four-year member of the Coastal Carolina indoor volleyball team and current beach volleyball player, has been named the 2017-18 Sun Belt Conference Female Athlete of the Year.
The award is the highest individual honor given in the conference, and is based on outstanding leadership, achievement and character.
She also has a national distinction. Hardeman was named the Sun Belt’s Indoor Volleyball Player of the Year last season, making her the first Division I player in NCAA volleyball history to earn a conference POY award in all four seasons of eligibility.
She claimed Big South Player of the Year honors from 2014-15 and Sun Belt Player of the Year honors from 2016-17. She also closed her indoor career with MVP honors in three straight conference tournaments (2015 Big South, 2016-17 Sun Belt).
In both 2016 and ’17, Hardeman was named Sun Belt Volleyball Player of the Year, Sun Belt Championship Most Outstanding Player, first team All-Sun Belt and Sun Belt Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Hardeman led the Chants to four straight conference championships and NCAA postseason berths. In the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at No. 9 Creighton, Hardeman registered 25 kills to become the school’s all-time leader in the category with 1,811.
In beach volleyball Hardeman posted a 5-9 record last season, and has played a role in helping to develop the young program since it started 2016. She has one season of competition remaining with the beach program, and will return to action with the Chants in spring 2019.
The 2017-18 Male Athlete of the Year award went to Taylor Lamb, the former quarterback for Appalachian State’s football team.