CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern opens the 2015 season this weekend as it takes on Appalachian State, Clemson and UNC Wilmington at the Big Orange Bash hosted by Clemson at Jervey Gymnasium.
The Buccaneers open the season on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. against Appalachian State in their lone match of the day. CSU closes out the weekend on Saturday against Clemson (1:30 p.m.) and UNC Wilmington (4:30 p.m.).
Live Stats will be provided at ClemsonTigers.com, while in-game tweets and updates will be provided on Twitter at @CSUGameDay.
Charleston Southern Weekend Notes
Scouting the Tournament Field
Appalachian State was selected fourth overall in the Sun Belt Conference in the 2015 preseason coaches poll by the league's head coaches earlier in the fall. The Mountaineers received 88 votes in the poll, while senior outside hitter Emily Corrigan was named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team. Paige Brown was named the Sun Belt Preseason Setter of the Year. Appalachian State went 21-10 overall last season, posting a 10-1 record in non-conference play on the year including wins over Big South opponents Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian and Radford.
Corrigan led the Mountaineers averaging 4.39 kills per set, hitting .219 from the floor and averaged 2.73 digs per set. Brown led the Sun Belt with 11.72 assists per set and was third on the team with 2.53 digs per set.
Clemson was selected 13th in the Atlantic Coast Conference in the 2015 preseason poll released earlier in the fall. The Tigers went 18-14 overall in the 2014 season, 6-12 in ACC play, while boasting an impressive 12-2 record in non-conference action. Among Clemson's wins last season included Big South foes UNC Asheville and Winthrop, while they suffered non-conference losses to Furman and Alabama.
The Tigers return junior outside hitter Leah Perri who averaged 2.95 kills per set, hitting at a .202 clip from the floor. Kate Federico also returns to set up the Clemson offense after the sophomore averaged 9.84 assists per set in the 2014 season. Only two of the Tigers' top six hitters and two of their top defensive specialists return to the court in 2015.
UNC Wilmington was selected second overall in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll, receiving two first place votes and 51 votes overall in finishing behind favorite College of Charleston. The Seahawks' senior middle hitter Meredith Peacock was picked the CAA's preseason Player of the Year, while junior outside hitter Nicole Lott earned honorable mention honors. Among UNCW's wins in the 2014 season included victories over Big South foes Coastal Carolina, Campbell and High Point, while the Seahawks fell to Radford.
Peacock ranked fifth in the nation in blocks per set (1.53) and was sixth in total blocks (178). Both were conference-leading totals. Offensively, she ranked fourth in the CAA with a .288 hitting average. Peacock became the first Seahawk to earn AVCA All-East Region honorable mention.
Charleston Southern in Opening Tournaments
CSU is 1-5 overall in season opening tournaments over the past two seasons under head coach Christy Mooberry. The Buccaneers fell in all three matches at the Davidson Wildcat Classic in 2013, while topping Norfolk State in 2014 at the James Madison Classic. In the Bucs' win over Norfolk State, Meredith Parrott had 17 kills, six digs and two blocks, while Siraya Windsor recorded a double-double with 14 kills and 11 digs in CSU's 3-1 win over the Spartans.
Buccaneers in the Big South
Charleston Southern was selected 10th overall in the Big South preseason poll by the Conference Head Coaches. The Bucs return all six starters from the 2014 season, as well as libero Ashley Higginbothem as they continue their third season under head coach Christy Mooberry. Defending champion Coastal Carolina was picked first overall in the poll. Liberty, Radford, Winthrop and High Point round out the top five in the poll. The Bucs will host Campbell (Oct. 2), High Point (Oct. 3), UNC Asheville (Oct. 23), Gardner-Webb (Oct. 24), Presbyterian (Oct. 30), Winthrop (Oct. 31) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 6) at the Buc Dome this season.
Playing at a high level...
Meredith Parrott led the Bucs and sat among the Big South leaders in multiple categories in the 2014 season, earning Big South All-Academic honors, as well as JMU Classic All-Tournament Team honors. She finished sixth in the Big South in hitting percentage (.291), fifth in kills per game (3.34) and fourth in points per game (3.88). Parrott saved one of the best performances of her career on October 24th in CSU's 3-1 win at UNC Asheville, hitting .607 with 20 kills. Overall on the team, Parrott led the team in kills and blocks, recording double-digits kills in 22 matches and added a 20 kill match on September 5th against Stetson.
Siraya Windsor sat among the Big South leaders in multiple categories last season and her high-flying attacks and steady defensive play put her among the tops in the conference. Windsor finished eighth in the Big South in kills (3.15), eighth in aces (0.25) and ninth in points (3.46), recording the third-most kills in a four set match on the season in the Big South on September 6th with 22 kills against The Citadel. Windsor finished the 2014 campaign with 15 double-doubles, recording four straight from August 30-September 6, while recording six straight from October 15-October 28. Windsor finished the 2014 season with 19 matches of double-digit kills and 19 matches with double-digit digs.
Digging her Way up the Record Book
Redshirt senior libero Ashley Higginbothem has made a career out of being on the Bucs' backline over the past four seasons and enters the year sitting fifth all-time in career digs at CSU with 1,158. Last season after coming back from an injury that sidelined her in 2013 and the first tournament of the 2014 season, Higginbothem worked her way back into the rotation, finishing the year with double-digit digs in 15 matches including a season-high 24 digs on November 15 in the Bucs season finale against Campbell. Higginbothem has averaged 3.57 digs per set over her career with the Bucs and looks to continue her march through the record books, sitting only 238 digs away from being in the top three in CSU program history.
Setting up the Attack
Senior Cassidy Greer returns to set up the Buccaneers attack for the 2015 season and enters the season seventh all-time in the Bucs' record books for career assists with 1,980. Greer finished seventh in the Big South in assists per game at 8.73, while recording the fourth-most assists in a match in the Big South in 2014 with 55 in the Bucs' 3-1 win over UNC Asheville on October 24th. Greer recorded a 52 assist match on September 5th against Stetson and finished the year with 16 matches with at least 30 assists. Greer also added six double-doubles on the season to pace the CSU offense.
All-Time Dig Performance
Taylor Allman filled in as the CSU libero over the first part of the 2014 season and set a CSU record with 36 digs on September 26th against Presbyterian. The total was the highest in the Big South in the 2014 season and set the CSU single match record in the process. Allman returns to her outside hitter position this season, but she finished the 2014 season with at least 20 digs on four separate occasions.
- Freshman Madison Martin will be working as both a defensive specialist and a setter with the Buccaneers in the 2015 season. Martin, a native of Birmingham, Mich., was a two-time All-League and All-Region selection at Seaholm High School.
- Freshman Addison Kaderli paced her Austin Performance club team to a fifth place finish overall at the 2014 Junior Nationals. She came to the Bucs from Austin, Texas.
- Meredith Parrott, Siraya Windsor and Katrina Houston all enter the 2014 season in the top 25 all-time in the CSU record books for kills and attacks. Parrott (789 career kills) and Windsor (709 career kills) both have a chance to break the 1,000 kill mark in their career, a mark only five players have reached with the Bucs in program history.
- The Bucs only have one home match over the first month of the season, hosting Savannah State on September 1st. From August 28 - October 2, the Bucs will play 17 matches on the road before hosting Campbell and High Point inside the Buc Dome in Big South play.