ATLANTA, GA. - A trio of freshmen led the way for Charleston Southern in Saturday's opening match as the Buccaneers took on host Georgia Tech on the second day of the Georgia Tech Courtyard Invitational, held in O'Keefe Gymnasium. Monique Mead led the host Yellow Jackets with 13 kills in the match as CSU fell in three sets to the home team, 25-15, 25-13, 25-15.
Katrina Houston, Siraya Windsor and Meredith Parrott led the Buccaneers (0-2) offense in the match as the freshmen trio recorded four kills apiece as CSU falls for the second time in the young 2012 season. Led by Mead's offensive performance and 13 digs by Nicki Meyer, Georgia Tech improves to 2-0 in their season opening tournament.
"We played a veteran Georgia Tech that, that I think will do very well in their conference this season," commented head coach Al Givens on the match. "There were moments we played very well, and Katrina (Houston) played a great match overall, showing us glimpses of the player she can become here at CSU. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and what we learned today will help us learn and grow as we prepare for our next match."
Georgia Tech broke a 3-3 tie in the first set, going on a 7-2 run to take control early following a service ace by Zoey Morton. The lead was pushed to 14-6 behind a Kaleigh Colson ace, but the Buccaneers battled back, bringing the match back to within four at 14-10 as Windsor served an ace for CSU.
GT rallied to build their lead back to seven at 20-13 as Colson and Quinn Evans combined on a block, but Davis responded with a service ace on CSU's next serve to keep the Buccaneers alive. However, Morton served the Yellow Jackets out, closing the set with three consecutive aces to put the hosts up 1-0 after the first set.
Charleston Southern battled back from an early 6-2 deficit in the second set, rallying to close the gap as Davis recorded a kill and Katrina Houston added a kill and an ace as the Buccaneers rallied back to an 8-7 game.
A 14-2 run put the set squarely in Georgia Tech's favor as a kill by Courtney Felinski put the set at 23-10. CSU rallied with three points toward the end of the set, but Felinski put away the final point for the Yellow Jackets to close out the 25-13 set victory.
GT again jumped out to an early lead in the third set, recording seven of the first 10 points on their way to building a 14-5 lead following a Bailey Hunter kill. A pair of Houston and Davis' kills, as well as a kill by Siraya Windsor kept Charleston Southern in the game, but Georgia Tech pulled away with the final three points to close out the match with the 25-15 victory.
Ashley Higgenbothem led the Buccaneers defense in the match, recording a match-high 15 digs over the three sets to pace the Buccaneers as CSU accumulated 26 digs overall. Cassidy Greer led CSU with seven set assists and Windsor added three service aces in the match, while Davis added three kills for the Buccaneers in their second action on the season.
"Siraya (Windsor) had a very good service game for our team and as a team, we served better than the first match," said Givens on the team's performance. "Georgia Tech did a good job of hitting around our blocks, but Ashley (Higgenbothem) stepped up and had a great game for us on the backline. Right now, we're still not passing the ball very well and we need players to continue to step up and claim positions."
Charleston Southern closes out the weekend in O'Keefe Gymnasium at the Georgia Tech Courtyard Invitational as the Buccaneers take on Cal State Fullerton this afternoon. First serve between the Buccaneers and the Titans is set for 4:30 p.m.