SAVANNAH, GA. - Erin LaVenice led the Charleston Southern volleyball team with nine kills and Meredith Parrott added eight kills and a block as the Buccaneers swept the Savannah State Tigers on Tuesday evening inside Wilcox-Wiley Gymnasium, 25-17, 25-13, 25-18.
Charleston Southern (3-5) hit a season-high .333 from the floor as a team in the three-set victory, including .500 in the first set as the Buccaneers pulled away from the host Tigers (0-9) in each set in recording head coach Al Givens' 395th career coaching victory.
"Anytime you play in someone else's house, you need to bring a real sense of focus to the match and I think our team handled it really well this evening," commend Givens on the team's performance against the Tigers. "I like some of the things that I'm seeing from the team, our setters are learning to control the tempo of the game and we want to continue to challenge our team to improve upon our performances as the season progresses."
Charleston Southern snapped a 6-6 tie on three consecutive kills by Sydney Tracy, Davis and Katrina Houston on their way to building a 15-9 advantage in the first set of the match. The Buccaneers' lead reached double-digits at 21-10 on a kill by Kayla Klinger. Savannah State rallied back, cutting the deficit to 24-17 on a Bridgette Stephens' kill, but an SSU service error ended the first set in favor of Charleston Southern, 25-17.
The teams battled evenly through the first 20 points of the second set as the two teams struggled to create more than a two-point advantage. Charleston Southern snapped the deadlock with an 11-1 run sparked by a Tracy kill and continued on Ashley Higgenbothem and Cassidy Greer's serve as the Buccaneers built a 20-11 lead following a Tigers' attack error. Michaela Luna contributed a service ace, before Parrott closed out the set with a kill off the assist from Greer to put Charleston Southern up 2-0.
Savannah State tied the third set up at 11 apiece following a service ace by Bryana Gadis, but the Buccaneers recorded six of the next seven points as LaVenice contributed a pair of kills during the stretch as CSU built a 17-12 lead. SSU rallied back, keeping the match alive on a Keandra Lewis' service ace at 24-18, but a service error ended the match in favor of the Buccaneers as Charleston Southern recorded their first sweep of the season.
Tracy and Houston added six kills apiece to the Charleston Southern offensive efforts this season, while Higgenbothem added 11 digs on the backline for the Buccaneers. At the net, Houston and Davis had two blocks apiece, while Kirsten Struksnes and Cassidy Greer combined for 32 set assists in the victory.
"The strength of this team is that we don't have one true superstar, but we have several players who can all contribute at a high level at the same time," said Givens following the match. "We served pretty well, stayed within ourselves and had an opportunity to work on some things for this upcoming weekend. Little by little, we'll continue to make progress as we work through this season."
Charleston Southern returns to the court this weekend as the Buccaneers fly up to Baltimore, Md. to take part in the Marriott Greyhound Challenge hosted by Loyola University. The Buccaneers will play three times over the weekend, taking on Morgan State, Rider and host Loyola. First match of the weekend is set for Friday, September 7th, as the Buccaneers open the tournament against Morgan State at 4:30 p.m. in Reitz Arena.