CHARLESTON, S.C. - A balanced offensive attack led host Charleston Southern over visiting South Carolina State on Tuesday evening inside the Buccaneer Field House as Sydney Tracy led four Lady Bucs in double-digit kills with 13 as CSU topped the Bulldogs 25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18.
Charleston Southern (11-16) broke the double-digit mark in service aces with 10 in the match and Wynter Davis, Kayla Klinger and Meredith Parrott joined Tracy with double-digit kills as the Lady Bucs hit .250 from the floor to overcome the visiting Bulldogs (6-12) in non-conference action.
"We didn't stop Desire Waller, but I thought our team kept their composure in the first two sets and really caught on fire in the fourth in getting the win," comment head coach Al Givens following the match. "The difference in the match was that we had a little bit more balance and our middles bounced back from a tough first set to hit very well, so we had several players we could go to as the match progressed."
The first set featured nine ties and five lead changes as the teams struggled to gain the advantage throughout the set. Charleston Southern took their largest lead of the frame at 16-13 following a kill by Kayla Klinger, but Desire Waller led the way for the Bulldogs, recording her 1,000th collegiate kill in sparking a 3-0 run to knot the match up at 16-all. S.C. State kept the set close, bringing it back to within one point at 22-21 following a CSU attack error, but Tracy followed with a kill and two SCSU errors gave the first set to the Lady Bucs, 25-21.
The second set also saw the teams tie the score up nine times in the frame before Charleston Southern snapped the final one at 15-all as Erin LaVenice sparked a 7-1 run capped by a Tracy ace as the Lady Bucs built the 21-16 lead. The lead dwindled to two points at 21-19 following a block by Shandice Sluch and Taylor Bailey, but CSU closed out the frame with four of the final five points as Wynter Davis and Kayla Klinger provided kills in the 25-20 set win.
Waller took control of the third set for the visiting Bulldogs providing seven of her match-high 21 kills in the set to cut the CSU lead down to 2-1. SCSU jumped ahead 15-11 following back-to-back kills by Bailey and the lead jumped to five at 19-14 following a Waller kill.
Charleston Southern responded with three consecutive points as Wynter Davis combined for a pair of blocks with Klinger and Tracy, while Tracy added a kill to cut the lead to 19-17. CSU was unable to get any closer as the Bulldogs responded with a 3-0 run of their own on their way to taking the third set at 25-22.
Tracy and Parrott combined for five service aces in the fourth set including four in the first 12 points as CSU built a 9-3 lead following an SCSU attack error. The Bulldogs rallied back with a 9-2 run to take the lead following a kill by Maya Bell, but Charleston Southern continued to hold serve in the frame as Tracy placed her fourth ace of the match during an 8-1 CSU run as the Lady Bucs built their largest lead of the evening at 22-16 following a Klinger kill.
The run continued to 24-17 following back-to-back kills by Klinger and LaVenice. Waller added her final point of the day to cut the lead to 24-18, but Davis followed with match point off the assist from Kirsten Struksnes as the Lady Bucs finished the four set win.
Klinger and Parrott finished the evening with 11 kills apiece, while Davis added 10 of her own as Struksnes set up the CSU attack with 38 set assists. Ashley Higginbothem led Charleston Southern's defensive efforts with 15 digs, while Klinger recorded her third consecutive double-double with 12 digs in the match. Parrott led the Lady Bucs at the net with four blocks.
Waller and Bell recorded double-digit kills for S.C. State in the loss as the Bulldogs hit .233 from the floor in the match. Melanie Williams set up the SCSU attack with a match-high 48 set assists, while Elizabeth Webb recorded 22 digs in the victory. Bailey added seven blocks in addition to her nine kills for the visitors.
"We didn't block particularly well against a very athletic team, but our serving really turned on the pressure, taking them a little out of their system and helped change the complexion of the match," said Givens of the team's success at the service line. "We're going to have to continue to stay focused as we head back into conference play this weekend."
Charleston Southern returns to the road on Friday, October 26th, as the Lady Bucs return to Big South Conference play as they travel to Clinton, S.C. to take on Presbyterian. First serve between CSU and the Blue Hose is set for 7 p.m.