CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern begins a five-match conference road trip this weekend as CSU travels to UNC Asheville and Gardner-Webb as the Lady Bucs continue their first season under head coach Al Givens as they continue toward their goal of earning a berth in the Big South Tournament.
The Lady Bucs (9-15, 3-4 BSC) travel to Asheville, N.C. on Friday evening in the weekend opener to take on the Bulldogs at the Justice Center at 7 p.m. CSU finishes out the weekend in Boiling Springs, N.C. on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. inside the Paul Porter Arena as the Lady Bucs take on the Runnin' Bulldogs. Both matches will be streamed live via the Big South Network and Live Stats will also be provided for both matches.
Charleston Southern is coming off of a 1-3 week as the Lady Bucs defeated Savannah State, while falling to The Citadel and Big South opponents Liberty and Radford over the weekend.
CSU is led on the season by junior Kayla Klinger as the outside hitter leads Charleston Southern with 2.68 kills per set, while senior middle blocker Wynter Davis paces the offense with a .245 hitting percentage and leads the Lady Bucs defensive efforts with 0.98 blocks per set. Sophomore outside hitter Sydney Tracy is also continuing her strong season averaging 2.20 kills per set, hitting .225 on the season, while leading the team with 35 service aces, averaging 0.42 aces per set.
Junior setter Kirsten Struksnes leads the Lady Bucs with 648 set assists on the season with 7.45 assists per set and has averaged 1.46 digs per set on the season. Ashley Higginbothem averages 3.64 digs per set to pace the Charleston Southern defensive efforts, while Klinger is also among the digs leaders with 2.54 digs per set. Davis paces the team's efforts on the net with 0.98 blocks per set and is among the Big South leaders with blocks.
Coming up against the Lady Bucs this weekend are the Bulldogs of UNC Asheville and the Runnin' Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb. Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville have played each other twice this season, with the GWU winning both matches against UNCA this season, winning both matches with matching 3-1 scores.
UNC Asheville was picked fourth in the Big South Preseason Coaches' poll and is led by senior outside hitter Holly Shelton's 2.95 kills per set, hitting .164 from the floor on the season. Junior middle blocker Anna Moore leads the team with a .271 hitting percentage, averaging 2.58 kills per set for head coach Frederico Santos.
Freshman setter Katie Davis leads the team with 8.69 assists per set and is averaging 1.89 digs per set to pace the teams' efforts. Rachel Wells and Alex Stewart lead the team's efforts on the backline as the duo each averages 2.79 digs per set, while Moore paces the play at the net with 0.96 blocks per set on the season.
Gardner-Webb was picked ninth in the Big South Preseason Coaches' poll and the Runnin' Bulldogs are 4-5 at home thus far this season. Gardner-Webb is led by sophomore setter Heather Feldman, junior Tyler Cockrell and junior Erin Anderson on the season.
Feldman has posted 10 double-doubles so far this season; while Cockrell has registered double-digit kills in each of the last four matches. Anderson, along with fellow classmate Emily Holte and fellow outside hitter Molly Rhyne have come on strong as of late, as the three continue to improve with its consistency offensively for head coach Leo Sayles squad.