JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Charleston Southern closed out the Hilton Garden Inn Invitational on Saturday afternoon against Florida Atlantic and though the Buccaneers were led by 12 kills by Siraya Windsor, CSU was unable to overcome the Owls in falling in straight sets, 25-14, 25-20, 25-23.
Windsor, in her first action of the season, connected on 12 kills and added four digs in hitting .333 from the floor as Charleston Southern hit .187 as a team in the three set match. Erin LaVenice added eight kills and three blocks, while Meredith Parrott had a dominant all-around performance in filling the statistics sheet with five kills, nine digs, four blocks and one service ace.
Katrina Houston added seven kills in the match and Cassidy Greer had 27 set assists as the Buccaneers had a strong performance at the net with seven total blocks, but struggled to defend against the serve as Florida Atlantic recorded 11 service aces in the match in the win.
Ivana Bulajic led the Owls offense with eight kills, while Jennifer St. Sume had six kills as the Owls hit .315 from the floor as a team in the match. Jelena Jovanovic set up the FAU attack with 29 assists, while Alessia Pizzoccheri and Nathalie Rosado had nine digs apiece on the backline.
Charleston Southern falls to 1-6 overall with the loss, while Florida Atlantic improves to 5-1 in the 2013 season.
The first set saw Charleston Southern grab the early lead, going up 10-8 as Florida Atlantic had four service errors and Parrott connected on a kill. FAU rallied back by going on a 17-4 run on Pizzoccheri and Bulajic's serves, taking advantage of four aces during the stretch as the Owls took the first set.
The Owls jumped out with the first six points of the second set in building an 18-12 advantage as 10 separate FAU players recorded kills in the frame. Charleston Southern rallied back behind a seven kills in the set by Windsor as the Buccaneers brought the game back to 22-20 following a trio of kills by Houston, LaVenice and Windsor, but back-to-back kills by Darija Sataric pushed FAU ahead as the Owls took the second set.
The deciding third set swung back and forth as Florida Atlantic would take several leads, going up 13-9 and 16-13, but each time the Bucs had an answer as CSU tied the match at 13-13 following a Houston kill and 16-16 on a Parrott ace and Windsor kill.
With CSU trailing 20-17 following a Jovanovic service ace, Charleston Southern went on a 4-0 run to take the lead at 22-20 as Houston put in an ace and LaVenice and Greer combined on a block. The Owls tied the set up at 22-22, and despite a kill by Windsor to give CSU the one-point edge, FAU rallied to close out the final point of the match in recording the sweep on a kill by Liene Mellupe.
For her performance on the weekend, Parrott earned All-Tournament team honors for the second time this season after previously being recognized at the Wildcats Classic on the All-Tournament team.
Charleston Southern makes their way back to Charleston, S.C. on Tuesday evening for the Buccaneers' home opener as CSU welcomes Savannah State to the Buc Dome. First serve between CSU and the Lady Tigers is set for 7 p.m., with the game to be streamed live on The Big South Network.