CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern fell in three sets tonight to crosstown rival College of Charleston in the Buccaneers' 2014 home opener inside the Buc Dome on Tuesday evening, 25-18, 25-15, 25-19.
Meredith Parrott and Siraya Windsor had six kills apiece to pace the CSU offense on the evening, but the Bucs hit only .074 from the floor in the match in falling to the Cougars in the first of five matches in a row that CSU will play in front of their home fans.
CSU fell to 3-4 overall with the loss on the evening, while College of Charleston improved to 4-4 with the win.
Cassidy Greer set up the Bucs' attack with 16 assists in the match, while Taylor Allman and Kirsten Struksnes were both in double-digits in digs to lead the defensive efforts. Allman finished the match with a team-high 13 digs, while Struksnes had 11 in her third double-digit effort on the season. Connor Malone and Kylie Klein led the Bucs at the net with three apiece in the match.
Cara Howley led the Cougars in the match with 14 kills, while Sloane White had 13 as CofC hit .219 as a team from the floor. Mackenzie Cooler and Kallie McCown combined for 26 assists from the floor, while Andi Zbojniewicz paced the defensive efforts with 13 digs in the win.
CofC broke a 12-12 tie with a 4-0 run to take command of the opening set midway through the frame as Howley had two kills to spark the run. The Bucs brought the match back to within two at 18-16 following a kill by Parrott, but a 7-2 run sparked by three Howley kills led the Cougars to the opening 25-18 set win.
Allman served the Bucs to a 5-0 lead to open the second set, placing in a service ace during the stretch to give CSU their largest lead of the evening at the beginning of the frame. The Cougars mounted a comeback, going on a 15-2 run with Cooler and Kari Fidelholtz providing most of the damage with Cooler placing in a pair of aces and Fidelholtz connecting on a pair of kills during the stretch to put CofC ahead 15-7. CofC continued to press their advantage on their way to a 25-15 second set win.
With the score tied at 9-9 in the third set following a Windsor kill, the Cougars went on a 10-4 run to take a 19-13 lead sparked by a Cooler ace. The Bucs mounted a comeback attempt on back-to-back kills by Windsor and Parrott, narrowing the margin to 19-15, but CSU was unable to get any closer as the teams traded points the remainder of the way as the Bucs fell 25-19.
Charleston Southern is back in action at home this weekend as CSU hosts the 2014 Wingate Invitational, featuring the Bucs, Jacksonville, S.C. State, N.C. Central and USC Upstate on Friday and Saturday inside the Buc Dome. Tournament play begins on Friday morning at noon as Jacksonville takes on N.C. Central. CSU's first action of the weekend is the 2 p.m. game as the Bucs host Jacksonville.