CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern makes their longest road trip of the season this weekend as the Buccaneers head north to take on Big South foes Liberty and Radford, capping off the three match road swing with matches against both the Flames and the Highlanders.
The Bucs take on Liberty inside the Vines Center on Friday evening with first serve between CSU and the Flames set for 7 p.m. Saturday afternoon inside the Dedmon Center pits Charleston Southern against Radford, with first serve between CSU and the Highlanders set for 4 p.m.
Charleston Southern looks to bounce back from a recent string of tough luck as the Buccaneers have struggled in their past eight matches, falling to 5-15 overall on the season and 0-5 in Big South Conference play on the year.
Five CSU players are averaging over two kills per set, balancing a Bucs offensive attack led by sophomore outside hitter Katrina Houston who paces the Bucs with 2.88 kills per set on the season. Sophomores Siraya Windsor (2.28 k/s) and Meredith Parrott (2.19 k/s), as well as seniors Erin LaVenice (2.08 k/s) and Kayla Klinger (2.00 k/s) are also above two kills per set, while LaVenice is the team leader in hitting .300 from the floor on the year.
Sophomore Cassidy Greer has taken over the setter position for the Bucs on the year, averaging 8.15 assists on the season, while Kirsten Struknes is averaging 4.12 assists per set in support of the CSU offense. Houston is the team leader with 18 service aces on the season.
Defensively, senior libero Maggie Murphy is the team leader with 3.24 digs per set, while Windsor and Klinger as both averaging over two digs per set on the season as well. Windsor is averaging 2.49 digs per set, while Klinger is averaging 2.28 digs per frame.
At the net, LaVenice is the team leader and currently is third in the Big South in blocks, averaging 1.06 blocks per set, sitting narrowly behind leaders Emma Deininger of Radford and Anna Moore of UNC Asheville who lead the way with 1.07 blocks per set.
This past Tuesday, Charleston Southern was unable to take advantage of a raucous home crowd inside the Buc Dome on Tuesday evening as the Buccaneers fell in three sets to visiting East Carolina in non-conference play, 27-25, 25-22, 25-19.
Houston led the Buccaneers with 11 kills, while Klinger picked up her first double-double of the season as Charleston Southern played in front of a packed house on Tuesday with members of nearly every single CSU athletic team on campus cheering them on, but it was not enough to push the Buccaneers over the edge in the three set loss to the Pirates.
Friday evening against Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern fell in three sets to Coastal Carolina inside The HTC Center as the Buccaneers dropped 25-11, 25-10, 25-17, in falling in Big South Conference play.
Klinger led the Buccaneers with nine kills on the evening, while Houston had five of her own to pace the CSU offense, but Charleston Southern struggled from the floor in hitting .045 as a team in the loss to the Chanticleers.
Radford holds the 34-16 all-time advantage over CSU, while Liberty has the 35-4 advantage over the Buccaneers.
Last season, Liberty defeated CSU in five sets inside the Buc Dome in their lone matchup of the season, while Charleston Southern swept Radford 3-0 in Charleston, S.C.
Liberty Flames Preview
Liberty enters the weekend with a 3-15 overall record, 2-3 in Big South Conference play on the year. The preseason Big South favorite, Liberty struggled early in the season, but the Flames have shown signs of turning their season around over the past two weeks with wins over UNC Asheville and Campbell.
The Flames have been led on the season by Lillie Happel's 3.04 kills per set as the Flames are hitting .155 from the floor as a team in 2013. Jade Craycraft sets up the Liberty attack with 7.75 assists per set, while Happel is the team leader with 11 service aces on the year.
Defensively, Gabrielle Shipe leads the Flames with 3.41 digs per set, while Allie Reynolds is close behind with 3.12 digs per set. At the net, Kendle Rollins is the team leader with 1.03 blocks per set.
Liberty sports a 2-1 record inside the Vines Center this season, defeating Georgetown and Asheville, while falling to Gardner-Webb.
Radford Highlanders Preview
Radford enters the weekend leading the Big South with a 4-1 record in conference play on the season, leading a log-jam at the front which features a five-way tie in teams with 3-2 records in the conference standings. The Highlanders will take on Coastal Carolina on Friday evening, before hosting Charleston Southern in their annual Dig Pink game on Saturday afternoon.
Rachel Wiechecki leads the Highlanders with 3.33 kills per set, while Jordan Watson is close behind with 3.03 kills per set to pace the Radford attack on the season. Jesse Miedema is the team leader with a .320 hitting percentage as Radford is hitting .242 from the floor as a team this season. Jena Braden sets up the RU attack with 8.09 assists per set, while Wiechecki is the team leader with 39 service aces.
Defensively, Wiechecki has displayed her overall versatility in leading the team with 3.42 digs per set, while Kelby Jackson is averaging 3.02 digs per frame. Emma Deininger leads the team and the Big South with 1.07 blocks per set.
Radford boasts an 8-4 record at home this season and is 2-1 overall at home in Big South play this year.