CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern went 1-1 on the final day of the East Bay Deli Invitational, sweeping Stetson in the early afternoon match, but falling to local rival The Citadel in the final match of the weekend in straight sets to close out the tournament.
Meredith Parrott earned All-Tournament honors for the Buccaneers on the weekend, hitting .250 from the floor and averaged two blocks per match. The freshman middle blocker from Mobile Ala. was joined on the All-Tournament team by Wofford’s Arden Anderson and Bekah Dorsey, Stetson’s Monique Russell and The Citadel’s Lauren Hurt and Mikaela Tracy. Libero Reagan Styles from Wofford was selected as tournament MVP.
"I think some of the things I take away from this tournament is, it was nice to see some players come off the bench and lift the level of play," commented head coach Al Givens on CSU’s play at the East Bay Deli Invitational. "Maggie (Murphy) came in and did some nice things for us and Siraya (Windsor) had a huge match tonight. As a team, we served really well and I thought defensively we got better as the tournament progressed. We’ll take tomorrow off to regroup and come back hard on Monday as we prepare for our match against College of Charleston on Tuesday evening."
Match One: Charleston Southern 3, Stetson 0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22)
Kayla Klinger had a match high 13 kills and Wynter Davis added seven blocks at the net as CSU bounced back from last night’s setback with a 3-0 sweep over Stetson at the East Bay Deli Invitational inside the Buccaneer Field House, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22.
CSU (5-8) was aided by 14 service errors by the Hatters (3-12) in the match, while Sydney Tracy recorded three service aces, as well as seven kills in the Buccaneers’ three set victory.
"It was a tight match on the scoreboard, and I thought the difference in the match was our blocking, and Kayla (Klinger) had an outstanding match," commented Al Givens following the match. "We played a little bit better defensively than we did last night, but I think we still have another gear we can get to as the season progresses."
The Lady Bucs took control of the first set early, using a 7-1 run, including six consecutive points on Tracy’s serve to build a 13-6 lead following a Klinger kill. The Hatters rallied back, cutting the lead down to four at 16-12 following a kill by Ellen Hawks, but the Buccaneers responded on Tracy’s serve as the sophomore outside hitter placed in an ace to put the score at 20-14. Stetson would continue to challenge in the set, cutting the lead down to three at 22-19, but the Buccaneers took the set following a Siraya Windsor service ace and a Stetson service error to go up 1-0 with the 25-21 set victory.
Charleston Southern built a five point lead midway through the second set of the match at 15-10 following a block by Davis and Erin LaVenice. The Hatters rallied back, taking the lead at 21-20 following a 6-0 run behind back-to-back aces by Evann Dickerson and a pair of kills by Kaley Melville.
Back-to-back kills by Katrina Houston swung the match back in Charleston Southern’s favor and Meredith Parrott put the Buccaneers at set point before Tracy closed the match with a kill off the assist from Kirsten Struksnes.
Stetson opened the scoring in the third set, rallying to take the first three points of the set and four of the first five behind kills by Kelli Carneal, Cailyn Prewitt, Kayla Weller and Melville, but CSU rallied with a 7-0 run as Tracy placed in back-to-back kills to put the Buccaneers up 8-4. Stetson battled back to tie the frame up at 13 following a CSU attack error as the teams kept the match for the majority of the set.
With the set tied at 22 following an attack error by Charleston Southern, the Bucs rallied to take the final three points to close out the match. Klinger opened the run with a kill and Houston and Parrott combined for a block before Parrott closed out the 25-22 set and match victory.
Struksnes set up the CSU attack with 27 set assists as the Lady Bucs hit .190 from the floor in the match. Klinger and Ashley Higgenbothem led CSU with eight digs apiece on the backline, while Tracy placed in three of CSU’s six service aces in the match.
"We kept our poise when it became tight, especially in the second and third sets and we found a way to win," said Givens about the team’s performance. "There were still some breakdowns offensively and defensively and we need to continue working, but we’re starting to trust each other out there and I’m pleased with our efforts in this match."
Match Two: The Citadel 3, Charleston Southern 0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-20)
Siraya Windsor led the Buccaneers in the final match of the East Bay Deli Invitational, recording nine kills and a .562 hitting percentage, but The Citadel won their second match of the weekend behind 10 kills by Amanda Rudnik as the Bulldogs topped CSU, 25-19, 25-12, 25-20.
Kayla Klinger and Katrina Houston added six kills apiece for the Buccaneers (5-9), while Meredith Parrott led the team at the net with three blocks as Charleston Southern hit .094 from the floor in the match against The Citadel (2-12). The Bulldogs recorded 55 digs in the match, while hitting .293 from the floor in the three-set sweep.
"We took some steps forward and steps backward today," commented Givens following the match against the Bulldogs. "As disappointing as the loss is, there are always bright spots and it was good to see Siraya (Windsor) come in and have a great outing, leading the team in kills and it was good to see Kirsten (Struksnes) take control of the team and try to problem-solve and navigate the team on the court."
The Bulldogs snapped a 5-all tie in the first set on a kill by Lauren Hurt as The Citadel took early control of the frame. A Rachael Farrell service ace pushed their lead to five at 11-6, but the Buccaneers rallied back behind a kill from Erin LaVenice to pull within two at 18-16. The Bulldogs stretched their lead back out at 23-16 following an Ise d‘Angelo kill and despite kills by Houston and Klinger, the Bulldogs pulled out the 25-19 win following Farrell’s final point.
The Citadel recorded six of the first seven points of the second set in building a 16-6 lead and the Bulldogs closed out the frame with five consecutive points, including a pair of aces by Erin Bucherl to go up 2-0 with the 25-12 win.
Charleston Southern fell behind 4-0 at the beginning of the third set, but evened the match back to within one at 8-7 behind a service ace by Cassidy Greer. The Citadel answered with a 9-2 run, capped by a Jessica Maxwell kill to take a 17-9 lead, and though CSU fought back with kills by Klinger, Windsor and Parrott, the deficit proved too great to overcome as Charleston Southern fell, 25-20 to the Bulldogs.
Kirsten Struksnes set up the CSU offense with 20 assists on the evening, while Ashley Higgenbothem led the Buccaneer backline with 15 digs. Sydney Tracy added a pair of blocks and three kills in the loss for Charleston Southern.
"We’re going to have to solve the consistency issue on the court and find a way to string several good matches together," said Givens on the up-and-down season so far. "We struggled on the mental process of the game today and need to rethink of how we’re preparing for the matches, as we’re not quite good enough to overcome slow starts right now. We have to come out and play hard at the beginning and cut down on the mental errors so we can get to the point where we can forge ahead and not break down."
Charleston Southern remains at home on Tuesday, September 18th, as the Buccaneers welcome local rival College of Charleston to the Buccaneer Field House. First serve between CSU and the Cougars is set for 7 p.m.