CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern was unable to build off of their momentum after taking the first set on Thursday evening against Gardner-Webb as the Buccaneers fell in Big South Conference play to the Runnin' Bulldogs inside the Buc Dome, 17-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-22.
Erin LaVenice led four CSU players in double-digits in kills, while Siraya Windsor and Katrina Houston both recorded double-doubles for the Buccaneers in the loss. Charleston Southern hit .297 from the floor in the match paced by LaVenice's .464 hitting percentage, but the Buccaneers were unable to overcome a 23-kill performance by Gardner-Webb's Erin Anderson in falling in conference action.
Charleston Southern falls to 5-18, 0-8 in Big South play on the season, while Gardner-Webb improves to 14-11, 5-2 in conference action on the season with the loss.
LaVenice paced the CSU offense with 15 kills on the evening and the senior middle blocker added two blocks at the net to her totals in the loss. Windsor added 13 kills and 13 digs, while Houston added 10 kills and 10 digs in the match. Meredith Parrott was also in double-digits with 10 kills on the evening, and added three blocks from the floor.
Cassidy Greer set up the CSU offense with 47 set assists, while Kayla Klinger, Windsor and Maggie Murphy all placed in service aces for the Bucs. Defensively, Murphy joined Windsor and Houston with 10 digs.
Anderson led Gardner-Webb's offense with 23 kills as the Runnin' Bulldogs connected at a .336 clip from the floor. Brianna Starr was also in double-digits with 14 kills, while Heather Feldman had 46 set assists in the match. Starr and Feldman also finished with double-doubles on the night, with Starr finishing with 10 digs, while Feldman had 13 digs in the win. Anna Pashkova led the GWU defensive efforts with 20 digs, while Amanda Murphy had four blocks at the net to lead the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Charleston Southern took the first three points of the opening set of the night as Houston and Greer connected on kills early to put the Buccaneers ahead. Gardner-Webb narrowed the margin to one point at 10-9 following a combined block by Starr and Murphy, but the Buccaneers would not give up the lead, as LaVenice connected on a kill to push the Bucs back ahead two at 11-9.
The lead reached five points at 16-11 on a Windsor ace, and remained at five points at 18-13 following another LaVenice kill. The Runnin' Bulldogs rallied back, using a 4-1 run sparked by a trio of Anderson kills, but the Buccaneers closed out the set scoring the final six points of the frame on Murphy's serve, with the senior libero placing in the final point on an ace to put the Bucs ahead 1-0 with the 25-17 set victory.
With the Buccaneers and Runnin' Bulldogs tied at 3-3 in the second set, GWU went on a 7-0 run as Anderson connected on three kills during the stretch in taking a commanding 10-3 lead. Gardner-Webb continued to expand their lead in the frame, reaching double-digits at 21-11 on a kill by Starr on their way to closing out the 25-15 set win to even the match at 1-1 heading into the break.
The third set featured the first lead change of the night as the Bucs and Runnin' Bulldogs came back from the break. Charleston Southern built a 10-5 lead in the frame following a kill by Houston, but Gardner-Webb responded by rattling off four points in a row on Amanda Murphy's serve to cut the frame back to within one at 10-9.
The Bucs again built an advantage in the frame, going up four points at 15-11 and retained the 17-14 lead following back-to-back kills by Windsor as CSU looked to go ahead in the match. Gardner-Webb, however, responded with an 11-2 run with Anderson closing out the frame from the service line, firing in an ace to take the 25-19 set victory.
The final set was the most contested one of the night with the teams battling through eight ties and one lead changes in the frame.
With the score knotted up at 15-15, the Runnin' Bulldogs rallied for four points in a row, using a pair of kills by Starr in building a 19-15 advantage in the frame. The Bucs fought their way back into the match, cutting the deficit down to two points multiple times as Klinger connected on a pair of kills and Parrott added a solo block, but Anderson finished the match with her final kill of the evening to end the night in the Buc Dome.
Charleston Southern is back in action tomorrow night as the Buccaneers host UNC Asheville in their annual Dig Pink night. First serve between the Bucs and the Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m.