CHARLESTON, S.C. - A tough weekend is in store for the Charleston Southern Volleyball team as CSU welcomes both Liberty and Radford to the Buccaneer Field House as the Lady Bucs battle the Flames and Highlanders in Big South Conference play.
CSU (9-13, 3-2 BSC) welcomes current Big South leader Liberty (14-6, 4-1 BSC) to Charleston, S.C. on Friday evening in the weekend opener, with first serve coming at 7 p.m. The weekend closes out with the Lady Bucs taking on Radford (12-10, 2-3 BSC) to cap off a busy Saturday in CSU athletics as the teams take the court at 6 p.m. inside the Buc Dome. Both games will be streamed live via the Big South Network and Live Stats will also be provided for both matches.
Head Coach Al Givens is coming off of a milestone victory this past week as the CSU first year head coach recorded his 400th collegiate coaching victory over Coastal Carolina last weekend as Charleston Southern rallied to beat the Chanticleers in five sets in front of the home fans.
Freshman middle blocker Meredith Parrott played a crucial role in Charleston Sothern's 3-2 win over Coastal Carolina in earning CRONS Big South Freshman of the Week honors. The freshman put away 14 kills with a .407 hitting percentage and posted eight blocks in the five-set victory over the Chanticleers in becoming the first CSU player in the 2012 season to earn conference weekly honors.
Charleston Southern enters the weekend having split against a tri-match this past Tuesday against Savannah State and The Citadel.
CSU defeated the SSU Tigers for the second time on the season behind 11 kills by junior outside hitter Kayla Klinger as the Lady Bucs hit .364 from the floor in the sweep. Kirsten Struksnes and Cassidy Greer set up the Lady Bucs attack in the match as the duo combined for 30 assists, while Ashley Higginbothem led the CSU defensive efforts with eight digs and added three service aces in the win. Parrott, Erin LaVenice and Klinger all had three blocks in the win.
The Citadel closed out their second win of the season over the Lady Bucs, handing CSU their first five-set defeat on the season as the Bulldogs overcame 14 kills by Klinger in the nightcap. Sydney Tracy, Wynter Davis and Parrott all had 12 kills apiece in the loss, while Struksnes recorded 55 set assists in the defeat. Higginbothem continued to lead the Charleston Southern defensive efforts on the season with 21 of the team's 67 digs in the match.
Several CSU players are among the conference leaders in the Big South rankings as Struksnes, Tracy, Davis and Higginbothem are in the top 10 in assists, aces, blocks and digs.
Tracy currently leads the Big South Conference with 0.46 service aces per set, while Higginbothem is in the top five in digs with 3.55 per set. Davis is also among the conference leaders with 0.99 blocks per set, sitting sixth overall, while Struksnes is eighth with 6.94 assists per set.
Liberty comes into Friday's match tied with Presbyterian for the Big South Conference lead with a 4-1 record in conference play as the Flames topped Radford, Campbell, High Point and Gardner-Webb, while falling to UNC Asheville.
The Flames were picked first in the Preseason Big South Coaches Poll and is coming off of an impressive showing at home, sweeping both Campbell and High Point at home. Liberty is averaging 2.33 aces per set and hit .280 over the weekend, leading both categories on the season, while the team is also eighth in the nation in service aces per set.
Radford enters the weekend with a 2-3 record overall in conference play with victories over UNC Asheville and Campbell and boasts the reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Week in Katelyn Meeks who leads the Big South in conference play with 5.47 digs per set.
The Highlanders were picked second overall in the preseason poll and currently lead the Big South with 16.29 digs per set and the team is third overall in the conference in service aces with 1.47 per set. Due to their proficient defensive play, Radford is also leading the Big South in opponent hitting percentage as teams are only hitting .161 from the floor against the Highlanders on the season.