DAVIDSON, N.C. - Charlotte held off a surging Charleston Southern in each of the three sets as the Buccaneers fell to the 49ers in their first action on Saturday morning at the Wildcats Classic in straight sets, 25-17, 25-23, 25-19.
Katrina Houston led all players with 12 kills in the Bucs morning action in pacing the Buccaneers offense for the second consecutive match after leading CSU with seven kills in the season opener against CSU Bakersfield. Kayla Klinger added six kills and eight digs, while Erin LaVenice and Taylor Allman had five kills apiece in their effort.
Claire Kreuz led a balanced Charlotte attack in the contest with 11 kills as the 49ers recorded a .262 hitting percentage on the season. Britney Leigh had 32 set assists, while Michelle Hovey added 11 digs on the defensive effort.
Charlotte took advantage of a 13-3 run to open the first set of the match behind Kreuz serve as the 49ers took advantage of four CSU attack errors, while Amanda Videmsek recorded three kills during the stretch.
Charlotte continued to hold the lead throughout the first set, building a 23-9 advantage before the Buccaneers offense went on an 8-1 run to rally back as Klinger and Murphy both connected on service aces to cut the lead down to 24-17. However, a service error ended the rally short and gave the 49ers the opening set win.
The second set again saw Charlotte jump out to an early lead as the 49ers went ahead 10-4 behind a pair of Taylor Cannon kills, but the Bucs rallied back to take their first lead on the day. Charleston Southern rallied behind three Houston kills and a pair of Meredith Parrott blocks to go on an 8-1 run to build the 12-11 lead midway through the set.
The teams traded serve and point throughout the remainder of the set, knotting up at 18-18 following a CSU service error and Charlotte used the advantage to go on a 5-1 run in building the 23-19 advantage on a Videmsek kill. CSU rallied back to cut it back to one on two separate occasions as Parrott put the score 23-22 with a kill and 24-23 with another point, but the Bucs were unable to extend the set as Charlotte closed out the 25-23 win.
The Buccaneers and 49ers continued their battle in the third set staying even throughout the first 20 points of the match before the Buccaneers went ahead 14-12 behind back-to-back kills by Klinger and LaVenice. Charlotte quickly rallied to knot the set back up as the neither team was able to build more than a two point advantage in the frame, remaining knotted up at 18-18 behind a kill by Parrott.
A Kreuz kill swung the lead in favor of the 49ers and Charlotte ended the match on a 7-1 run with Sarah McDonald connecting on the final point to end the match.
Charleston Southern remains at the Wildcats Classic for tonight's match as the Buccaneers take on tournament host Davidson. First serve is set for 5 p.m. with live stats and a live video stream provided at DavidsonWildcats.com.