CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern took control early on Saturday afternoon against Gardner-Webb and the Buccaneers did not let up the rest of the way as CSU topped the visiting Runnin' Bulldogs in four sets, 25-20, 25-19, 14-25, 25-22.
CSU (7-19, 2-7) did not trail until the third set against Gardner-Webb as the Buccaneers volleyball team completed the Gardner-Webb (9-16, 3-5) sweep on Saturday. Prior to the match, CSU football had topped the Runnin' Bulldogs 34-0, while the women's soccer team defeated GWU, 1-0.
"I think last night made them angry enough that they just wanted it enough and they weren't going to let anyone stop them," said CSU head coach Christy Mooberry. "That was their mentality tonight, especially in those first two sets. Then they lost that edge a little bit in the third set, but they picked it back up and finished it in the fourth."
With the victory, the Buccaneers bounced back from a tough loss to visiting UNC Asheville on Friday night with Katrina Houston leading three players in double-digits with 15 kills in the match. Meredith Parrott and Kylie Klein both added 12 kills apiece in the win.
"I think after last night especially, being so close, there were a little bit of nerves coming out and getting ready to play again so quickly," Mooberry said. "But they pushed through, showed some mental toughness, and fought hard to win this one."
Saturday's match was the third match at home for the Bucs this week as CSU is in the midst of a seven match home stand. Next up for the Bucs is Presbyterian at the Buc Dome on Friday night. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
"Thankfully this week we do not have a Tuesday match," Mooberry commented. "So we can rest a little, but also get more practice in. We can prepare for our matches later in the week. We have a handful of things we need to improve on and we'll do that this week."
Cassidy Greer set up the CSU offense with 42 assists and was one of five Buccaneers in double-digits in digs with 11 in the match. Ashley Higginbothem led the way with 33 digs, 21 in the first two sets, to pace the backline, while Addison Kaderli (18), Taylor Allman (11) and Madison Martin (13) was also in double-digits. Kylie Klein led the Bucs at the net with four blocks overall.
Tyra Montour led the Runnin' Bulldogs with 17 kills overall, while Jene Lee finished with 12 as GWU hit .192 from the floor as a team. Justine Bowers set up the offense with 45 assists, while Anna Pashkova led the defensive efforts with 28 digs.
The Bucs recorded the first six points of the match and CSU never trailed in the first set in taking the 25-20 victory. CSU's lead reached double-digits at 15-5 midway through the set following back-to-back Greer kills and Gardner-Webb was unable to pull back within four the rest of the way as CSU went up 1-0.
Katrina Houston sparked the Bucs in the second set with seven kills as CSU hit .349 overall in the frame in taking the 25-19 set win. With the set tied 2-2, the Bucs went on a 14-6 run sparked by a pair of Houston kills on their way to taking the 2-0 lead at the break.
Gardner-Webb battled back in the third set with Montour leading the way with five kills , while Katie Loftin placed in a pair of aces as the Runnin' Bulldogs took the frame 25-14. GWU used a 7-1 run to break open the set and take a 12-6 lead and the Runnin' Bulldogs pulled away late with Lee putting in the kill for the final point to send the teams into the fourth set.
Parrott and Klein combined for 13 of CSU's 15 kills in the final set as CSU closed out the 3-1 win over the Runnin' Bulldogs. With the score tied 13-13, the Bucs used back-to-back blocks from Parrott and Kaderli, and Greer on their way to building a 17-13 advantage. GWU pulled it back to within one at 22-21, but the Buccaneers recorded three of the final four points with Parrott sealing the win with her final kill.