CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern head coach Al Givens won his 400th career match on Friday night as CSU rallied in the fifth set to beat Coastal Carolina, 3-2 (24-26, 25-17, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12).
CSU came back from an 11-7 deficit in the final set to win 15-12 and improve to 4-0 in five-set matches this season.
With the win the Bucs improve to 8-12 on the year and 3-2 in Big South Conference play. Coastal Carolina falls to 5-10 and 3-2 in league play.
The fifth-set rally set off a celebration with the CSU team and student section inside the Buc Dome, and gave Givens the career milestone.
"I thought our kids battled tonight," Givens said after the win. "I’m so proud of the defensive effort our kids gave. I thought we had some great individual performances. To be honest with you, I totally forgot about 400 and I’m glad it’s over. I don’t want it to be a distraction because I want us to be focused on improvement."
Coastal Carolina built an 3-0 lead in the deciding set and extended it to 11-7, moving to the verge of postponing Givens’ milestone, but the Bucs ripped off six straight points, including two kills by Sydney Tracy, to take a 13-11 lead. Tracy added another kill to make it 14-12 and Kayla Klinger finished off the match with her 13 kill of the night to cap the rally.
"We’re not perfect," Givens added. "So far though, we’re perfect in five-set matches (4-0). We had a great crowd tonight and they helped. As far as I’m concerned, our fans were a big part of this tonight. This is a great atmosphere."
Givens is in his first season at the helm of the Lady Bucs’ volleyball program, bringing with him 34 years of coaching experience over all levels. At the Division I level, Givens spent time at Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Weber State, where he combined for 378 career wins. He went 14-15 last season as the head coach at Texas A&M International, which was 1-25 the year before Givens took over the program.
Givens’ 400th career win was tight throughout.
Coastal Carolina rallied late in the first set to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Bucs trailed 16-12, before rallying back with six straight points, taking advantage of two Coastal Carolina errors and getting a pair of kills from Kinger, to grab a 19-17 lead. The Bucs built their largest lead of the set at 23-20 on an ace by Ashley Higgenbothem, but couldn’t finish off the Chanticleers. Coastal rallied back with a 6-1 run to finish the set and claim a 26-24 win. Horvath had three kills during the set-clinching run. Siraya Windsor had four of CSU’s 17 kills in the set to lead CSU, while Horvath had five to carry the Chanticleers.
Charleston Southern took the second set, 25-17, ripping off the last seven points to break open what was a one-point set at 18-17. Three errors by the Chanticleers and an ace by Tracy fueled the run to even the match. The Bucs had 14 kills in the set.
CSU again surged late in the set in the third. The Bucs broke open a 16-16 tie with five straight points to move ahead 21-16, eventually winning 25-23. Three straight attack errors by the Chanticleers aided CSU’s cause. Five Bucs each had two kills in the set. Meredith Parrott added three blocks in the set.
Coastal started fast in the fourth set to knot the match at 2-2. The Chants built an 8-3 lead behind three aces by Horvath to break the set open early. CSU cut the lead to one at 14-13, but back to back points by CCU extend the lead out to three at 15-13 and the Chanticleers were able to outlast the Bucs and tie the match heading into the dramatic fifth set.
Parrott led CSU with 14 kills, while Klinger added 13 and Tracy 11. Parrott had a match-high 8 blocks in the win. CSU has 13 blocks as a team.
Horvath had 16 kills to lead all players, while Bailey added 13 to lead the Chanticleers.
CSU returns to action on Tuesday with a pair of matches at The Citadel. CSU faces the Bulldogs at 3 p.m. and Savannah State University at 6 p.m. Both matches are on The Citadel campus.
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