CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern Volleyball is in full swing as the Buccaneers prepare for the upcoming 2012 season starting next weekend at the Georgia Tech Courtyard Invitational.
The team has been working hard since reporting for camp on August 6th and saw their first action of the season this morning as CSU battled amongst themselves in the first real scrimmage of the fall preseason this morning at the CSU Fieldhouse on the campus of Charleston Southern University.
Head Coach Al Givens enters his first season as the leader of the Buccaneers after making coaching stops along the way at Arizona Western, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Weber State and Texas A&M International and is excited about the progress the team has made throughout the preseason.
"Right now, our defense is ahead of our offense, and that's a good thing, because usually it's the other way around. Our back row defensive is going to be a strong unit for us and our depth at every position should help us as we progress through the preseason," commented Givens about the team. "Our players haven't shied away from the new concepts, methodology and ideas we're bringing to the program about how to do things, and they are embracing the challenges as we ready for next week."
The team defense, led by junior Maggie Murphy was solid as the Buccaneers recorded 91 digs throughout the first three sets of the match and eight blocks (five solo, six assisted) up front. However, several players were able to find gaps in the defensive effort, as senior Wynter Davis, junior Erin LaVenice and freshman Meredith Parrott all hit over 25 percent throughout the morning session.
"Right now as a team, the scrimmage showed us today that the difference between the dips of our lows and highs of our highs are huge," said Givens. "We need to shorten that thermostat and play more consistently, and that comes through the relationships we're building and the trust we've gained."
The two 2012 captains of the squad, junior Laura Grace and sophomore Ashley Higgenbothem have been working on leading the team through the preseason, working with the team as the coaching staff has been empowering every player on the team to step up and lead.
"I'm encouraged by the effort the players are putting out and putting forth on a day-to-day basis. We're definitely making progress in all areas and the team is getting more comfortable with what we're asking them to run and we're making the right moves," commented Givens. "Our motto this season is 'Excellence is Our Standard' and that's what we're striving for. We see this season as a bike race and we want to make sure we're going hard the entire, not just as we're reaching the crest of the hill, but also on the backside when you're tempted to just coast. The team's hunger to be successful is going to drive us this year."
Charleston Southern University opens the 2012 volleyball season on the road on Friday, August 24th as the Buccaneers begin the two-day Georgia Tech Courtyard Invitational with a match against Southern Methodist University in O'Keefe Gymnasium at 4:30 p.m. CSU will close out the tournament on Saturday, August 25th with matches against host Georgia Tech at 10 a.m. and Cal State Fullerton at 4:30 p.m., also in O'Keefe Gymnasium.