Bucs fall in five sets to Grand Canyon in GCU Tournament opener

Bucs fall in five sets to Grand Canyon in GCU Tournament opener

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Charleston Southern fell in a five-set thriller to host Grand Canyon on Friday evening in their first match of the GCU Tournament as the Buccaneers rallied back from a two set deficit in falling 26-28, 16-25, 25-18, 25-20, 7-15.

Meredith Parrott led the way for the Bucs (3-6) with a season-high 19 kills, while Addison Kaderli (14) and Krista Kuglin (10) both recorded season-highs in kills in the CSU loss to the Antelopes. Cassidy Greer set up the Bucs offense with 47 assists as CSU hit .151 from the floor in the match.

Ashley Higginbothem led four CSU players in double-digits in digs with 24, while Madison Martin (11) and Hannah Western (10) both had season-highs in the category. Greer completed the double-double with 11 digs. At the net, Kylie Klein continues to dominate in the 2015, finishing the match with nine total blocks.

Natalie Tardy led GCU (1-8) with a match-high 20 kills, while Katrice Pond (17) and Jordyn Sanchez (15) both were in double-digits in the category. Michelle Steagall led the way with 45 assists, while Haley Glass was the team leader with 23 digs.

CSU continues the GCU Tournament tomorrow afternoon with first serve against Niagara at 1 p.m., while the Bucs close out the tournament against Southern Utah at 10 p.m.

Charleston Southern took eight of the first nine points and built an 18-11 lead in the first frame following a Kuglin kill, before GCU mounted a comeback. The 'Lopes rallied back with 12 of the next 17 points to tie the match at 23-23 following a Tardy kill. CSU held match point at 24-23, but GCU rallied back before taking the frame following back-to-back kills from Sanchez and Tardy.

With the Bucs leading 13-12 in the second set, GCU went on a 13-3 run to take the frame and the 2-0 lead.

The Bucs went on a 7-2 run in the third set, breaking a 5-5 tie on three kills from Parrott in taking the 12-7 lead. The 'Lopes pulled the set back to within 18-16 before CSU went on a second 7-2 run capped by a Parrott solo block in pulling back within 2-1.

CSU and GCU battled through nine ties in the fourth set before the Buccaneers took charge with the set tied 20-20. Back-to-back blocks by Klein put CSU ahead 22-20 and Connor Malone added a kill as the Bucs rattled off a 5-0 run to set the match to a fifth set.

The Antelopes took an 8-3 lead at the crossover in the fifth set and despite another pair of blocks from Klein, GCU took the final points in closing out the 15-7 set win.

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