CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern volleyball kicks off Homecoming festivities at CSU this week, hosting Gardner-Webb on Thursday evening and UNC Asheville on Friday night as the Buccaneers return to the Buc Dome following a three match Big South road trip spanning the past two weeks.
The Buccaneers host Gardner-Webb with first serve on Thursday set for 7 p.m., while CSU takes on Asheville on Friday with service set for 7 p.m. inside the Buc Dome. Both matches will be streamed live courtesy of the Big South Network, and live stats will be provided on CSUSports.com.
The night of each match will have a special awareness attached to it, as Thursday night's match brings light to the A21 Campaign, while Friday evening is the annual CSU Dig Pink match inside the Buc Dome in support of breast cancer awareness.
The Buccaneers have been led on the season by sophomore outside hitter Katrina Houston, who continues to pace the Bucs with 2.85 kills per set on the season, while fellow sophomores Siraya Windsor (2.24) and Meredith Parrott (2.08) are both also averaging over two kills per set. Senior middle blocker Erin LaVenice is also over two kills with 2.06 per set on the season while hitting a team best .288 from the floor.
The CSU offense has been set up by sophomore Cassidy Greer for the year, with Greer averaging 8.00 assists per set. Houston rounds out the offensive leaders with 20 service aces on the season.
Defensively, senior libero Maggie Murphy leads Charleston Southern with 3.17 digs per set, with Windsor close behind with 2.49 per set on the season. At the net, LaVenice continues to remain among the top five in the Big South in averaging 1.00 blocks per set on the year.
Charleston Southern has struggled in the 2013 season, entering the matches this weekend with a 5-17 record, 0-7 in Big South play. The Buccaneers are currently 1-3 overall at home, with their win coming on September 10th against Savannah State.
The Buccaneers fell this past weekend on the road to Liberty and Radford, as CSU was unable to overcome their opponents in Big South play.
Charleston Southern fell to late Liberty rallies in both the first and second sets as the Buccaneers were unable to top the host Flames on the road on Friday evening inside the Vines Center in suffering the 26-24, 25-22, 25-13 defeat.
Houston had 11 kills to lead the Buccaneers offense on the evening, while CSU combined for nine total team blocks in the match, but it was not enough to top the Flames as Charleston Southern was unable to pick up the Big South Conference win.
On Saturday afternoon, Charleston Southern closed out their three match road trip, falling in straight sets to Big South opponent Radford inside the Dedmon Center Arena, 25-14, 25-16, 25-16.
Windsor had nine kills for the Buccaneers on the match as CSU could not keep pace with the high-powered Radford attack as the Highlanders hit .458 from the floor in the match in recording the important conference win.
In the all-time series, Charleston Southern leads Gardner-Webb 12-4, while UNC Asheville has the 35-13 advantage over the Buccaneers.
The A21 Campaign is a group that looks to prevent human trafficking through awareness and education. There will be a table set up with t-shirts for sale, as well as a contest that will be held during the halftime period between the second and third sets of the volleyball match. For more information on A21, click on the link. Dig Pink is the annual breast cancer awareness match at Charleston Southern, with a special giveaway of a free pink t-shirt going to the first 150 students through the door for the Bucs' Friday match against UNC Asheville.
Gardner-Webb enters the weekend with a 13-11 overall record, 4-2 in Big South play on the season and is coming off back-to-back wins over North Carolina A&T and UNC Asheville. The Runnin' Bulldogs have won seven of their eight matches in the month of October.
GWU has five players averaging over two kills per set on the season, led by Erin Anderson's 2.82 kills per set average, while Emily Holte leads the team with a .244 hitting percentage from the floor. Heather Feldman sets up the Runnin' Bulldogs attack with 10.26 assists per set, while Brianna Starr is the team leader with 20 service aces.
Defensively, Anna Pashkova leads the team with 5.33 digs per set, while Starr, Anderson and Feldman are also over two digs per set on the season. Tyra Montour leads the team at the net with 0.91 blocks per set.
Last season Charleston Southern swept their lone match against Gardner-Webb, winning 3-0 in Boiling Springs, N.C. behind a 15-kill, 15-dig performance by Kayla Klinger.
UNC Asheville Preview
Asheville enters the weekend taking on Charleston Southern on Friday evening, before closing out their road trip on Saturday against Coastal Carolina. The Bulldogs boast a 13-9 overall record, 3-3 in Big South play on the season, winning three of their last four matches, with their lone setback coming this past Friday against Gardner-Webb.
Christine Lakatos has been among the Big South leaders all eason, averaging 3.33 kills per set on the seas, while Anna Moore is close behind at 2.99 kills per set. Moore is among the conference leaders with a .332 hitting percentage, while Katie Davis sets up the UNCA attack with 10.25 assists per set. Moore also leads the team in service aces with 30 on the year.
Defensively, Rachel Wells leads the team with 5.51 digs per set, while Lakatos, Davis and Alex Stewart are all over two digs per set. At the net, Moore again displays her vast skill set in leading the team with 1.00 blocks per set.
Last season, Asheville defeated the Buccaneers 3-1 inside the Justice Center in their long matchup of the season with Klinger leading the way with 14 kills and 14 digs in the matchup.