CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Charleston Southern volleyball team begins their final road trip of the 2013 regular season, traveling to take on conference foes High Point and Campbell this weekend to wrap up play on the year.
The Buccaneers take on the Panthers on Friday evening inside the Millis Center with game time set for 7 p.m. Charleston Southern wraps up their road trip at Buies Creek, N.C. and Gore Arena as CSU takes on the Camels, with first serve set for 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
Seniors Erin LaVenice, Kayla Klinger, Laura Grace Swindler and Maggie Murphy don the CSU Blue and Gold for the final time this weekend, and the senior class will look to go out with a bang as the Bucs looks to play spoilers for several teams Big South Conference Championship hopes.
LaVenice has been lights-out for the Buccaneers over the past few weeks, steadily rising in the Big South individual statistical rankings as the senior middle blocker from Lancaster, Pa., is currently second in the conference in hitting .327 from the floor, and third overall in the blocks category at 1.07 per game. LaVenice's numbers would put her fourth in the CSU single season hitting percentage category, behind former CSU greats Ann Thomas and Angela Cunningham.
Klinger has been among the team leaders in averaging 1.83 kills per set and 1.96 digs per set, while Murphy led the team with 2.91 digs per set on the season. Swindler has also been a valued backline player for the Bucs on the year, seeing action in 25 matches in recording 1.12 digs per set and three service aces.
A quartet of sophomores have contributed heavily to the Charleston Southern game plan this season, led by outside hitters Katrina Houston and Siraya Windsor, middle blocker Meredith Parrott and setter Cassidy Greer.
Houston is the team leader with 2.60 kills per set, while Windsor is second on the team in both kills with 2.28 and digs at 2.58 per set. Parrott is also averaging two kills per set, and is second on the team with 0.75 blocks per set, while hitting .232 from the floor. Greer has set up the CSU offense on the year, averaging 8.12 assists per set, sitting eighth in the conference in the category.
Freshman Taylor Allman has also seen extended playing time over the last several games, averaging 1.65 digs per set on the season, while taking over as the team's primary libero.
Charleston Southern enters the weekend with a 6-22 record on the year, but comes into the match on a three-match skid after falling at home to Presbyterian, Winthrop and Coastal Carolina.
Earlier this season, the Buccaneers fell in their previous matchups against both High point and Campbell, struggling against the Panthers and the Camels at home.
Charleston Southern opened the weekend falling in a tightly contested, back-and-forth, Big South Conference match against visiting Campbell inside the Buc Dome, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18. The match featured eight ties and five lead changes, including a 10 kill performance in the second set by CSU's Houston, but Campbell's early leads in each frame proved to be too much for the Buccaneers to overcome in the loss.
Saturday's match against High Point saw the Bucs even that match in taking the second set heading into the break, but the Panthers outlasted the Buccaneers inside the Buc Dome as CSU fell 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21. LaVenice had 12 kills and five blocks on the evening to pace the Buccaneers, while Windsor narrowly missed out on the double-double with 11 kills and nine digs in the contest as Charleston Southern fell for just the second time at home in the 2013 season.
The Bucs look to close out the regular season when they take on High Point and Campbell. High Point holds the 22-11 all-time series record over CSU, while the Bucs have the 19-9 edge over the Camels.
High Point Panthers Preview
High Point enters the weekend posting a 13-14 overall record and is in the midst of a three-match tie for third place overall in the Big South standings at 7-5, fighting for a top-seed in the Big South Volleyball Championships. The Panthers have gone 3-2 overall in their past five games as HPU made their longest road trip of the season with matches against Campbell, Asheville, Gardner-Webb, Liberty and Radford, before returning home to host CSU and Coastal Carolina.
Chelsea Davis leads both the Panthers and the Big South on the season at 4.19 kills per set, while Kristin Heldt is fifth in the Big South in averaging 3.10 kills per set on the season. Savannah Angel leads the team in hitting .300 from the floor, while Maddie Simpson is the team leader in both assists at 9.12 per game and aces with 33 on the year.
Defensively, Annemarie Chin is the team leader and is currently third in the Big South at 5.47 digs per set, while Katie Vincent is among the Big South leaders in blocks, sitting fourth with 1.04 blocks per set.
Campbell Camels Preview
Campbell enters the weekend with a 13-16 overall record on the season, 3-9 in Big South Conference play as the Camels look to close out the regular season. Campbell is currently ninth overall in the Big South standings and the Camels enter the weekend on a five match skid. Campbell hosts Coastal Carolina on Friday night before taking on CSU on Saturday afternoon.
Jessica Groen leads three CU athletes averaging over two kills per set with 2.57 kills per frame, while Alexis Hein is at 2.39 and Lindsay Coats at 2.26 per set. Coats is also among the team leaders in hitting percentage at .263 on the year, while Heather Wilson sets up the Camels attack with 8.50 assists per game.
Defensively, Mary Crema is fifth in the conference in averaging 5.41 digs per game, while Coats is the team leader with 0.75 blocks per set.