CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern continues the 2016 season this weekend at the Hampton Inn Charleston/West Ashley CofC Classic hosted by the College of Charleston on September 9-10. The Buccaneers will take on Eastern Michigan, College of Charleston and VCU over the two-day tournament. Live stats will be provided on CofCSports.com, while updates of the action will be provided on Twitter: @CSUGameDay
Scouting the Tournament Field
Eastern Michigan enters the weekend on a four-match skid as the Eagles dropped decisions to Cleveland State, Tennessee, Wright State and Fort Wayne. EMU picked up wins over Sacred Heart and Delaware State in the season opening Maryland Invite. Jordan Smith has paced the EMU offense on the season with 2.59 kills per set. She also leads the team with a .209 hitting percentage. Mallory Rajewski sets up the EMU offense with 7.75 assists per set. Defensively, Alyssa LaFace leads five Eagles averaging more than two digs per set at 2.86. Samantha Falco is the team leader with 1.24 blocks per set.
College of Charleston
College of Charleston returns home this weekend to host their second tournament of the 2016 season. The Cougars went 2-1 in their opener on August 26-27 with wins over UT Martin and Binghamton. CofC dropped a pair of matches this past weekend at the Demon Deacon Classic before topping Davidson in their final match of the tournament. Maddie Hills and Krissy Mummy lead the Cougars offense with matching 2.26 kills per set averages. Hills paces the Cougars with a .206 hitting percentage. Allison Beckman sets up the CofC offense with 9.11 assists per set. Defensively, McKala Rhodes leads the backline with 3.84 digs per set. Hills is the team's blocking leader with 0.74 per set.
VCU enters the weekend having won three of their last four decisions, including a midweek 3-1 win over Big South opponent High Point on Tuesday. The Rams took two of three matches at the FGCU Hilton Garden Inn Invitational with VCU topping New Orleans and Delaware. Sahbria McLetchie leads the VCU offense with 3.93 kills per set and a .227 hitting percentage. Tyler Sroufe sets up the Rams' offense with 9.46 assists per set. Defensively, Rebekah Strange is the backline leader with 5.33 digs per set, while Jasmine Sneed is the blocking leader at 1.12 blocks per set.
Charleston Southern enters the weekend with wins in three of their past five matches. The Buccaneers took two wins at this past weekend's Bash in the Boro topping Savannah State and Jacksonville State. CSU has gone to five sets in each of their past two matches, topping JSU, while falling to The Citadel. Addison Kaderli leads the CSU offense with 2.69 kills per set, while Kylie Klein is the hitting leader at .226. Rachel Smith sets up the Bucs' attack with 6.75 assists per set. Defensively, Madison Martin is the backline leader with 4.31 digs per set, while Kylie Klein (1.21) and Caitlyn Michalski (1.03) both average over a block per set.
Buccaneers in the Big South
Charleston Southern was selected seventh overall in the Big South Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll as announced by the league office in the preseason. The Buccaneers received 27 points and one first place vote in the poll after earning a spot in the 2015 Big South Volleyball Championships last season. For the first time, High Point University has been chosen the favorite in the Big South Conference's annual preseason volleyball poll by the league's head coaches, while Panthers' junior outside hitter Haley Barnes (Neenah, Wis.) was voted preseason Player of the Year.
Big South Defensive Player of the Week
Madison Martin was named the Big South Defensive Player of the Week this past week after averaging 5.40 digs per set last week and recorded four matches with at least 20 digs to pace CSU's defensive efforts. The Birmingham, Mich., native recorded a career-high 30 digs in a three-set match against Savannah State in the opening match of the Bash in the Boro. She recorded 27 digs in the Bucs' five-set loss to The Citadel in the tournament finale. Martin added 20+ digs in CSU's matches against Georgia Southern (22) and Jacksonville State (20). For her efforts on the weekend, Martin was named to the Bash in the Boro All-Tournament team.
The CRONS Brand Big South Freshman of the Week
Brooke Monssen was named The CRONS Brand Big South Freshman of the Week this past week after leading Charleston Southern's offense as the freshman outside hitter averaged 2.55 kills per set and 1.15 blocks per set. She had double-digit kills in three separate matches. Monssen had 14 kills and three blocks in the Bucs' 3-0 win over S.C. State on Tuesday. In the Bash in the Boro opener on Thursday, Monssen had 10 kills and hit .316 from the floor in CSU's 3-0 win over Savannah State. Monssen saved her best match of the week for Jacksonville State with 18 kills (.359 hitting percentage) and nine blocks in CSU's five-set win over the Gamecocks.
1,000 Digs and Counting
Senior Taylor Allman became just the ninth player in program history to achieve 1,000 career digs with the defensive specialist achieving that mark at the Bash in the Boro. Allman joins former teammate Ashley Higginbothem (1,761, 2011-15) as just the second Buccaneer to achieve the mark in the past decade. Only eight matches into the season, Allman (1,003 digs) will continue to climb through the record books this season with a chance to rise into the top three in CSU history if she stays healthy. Allman served as the Bucs' primary libero in the 2014 season and finished with 488 digs, averaging 4.21 per set. This season, Allman already has 101 digs and is averaging 3.26 per set.
30 Dig Matches
The battle for CSU's libero position continues as Madison Martin and Taylor Allman have both stood out over the first two weeks of the season. Allman recorded 31 digs in CSU's five-set loss to Western Carolina at the Catamount Volleyball Classic on the opening weekend, one of five double-digit dig efforts she's had on the season. Martin recorded the first 30-dig match of her collegiate career against Savannah State on September 1 and finished the weekend with four matches of 20+ digs. Allman currently holds CSU's single match record of 36 digs established in 2014 against Presbyterian on September 26.
Charleston Southern's twin towers in the middle have come out in force to open the 2016 season as Kylie Klein and Caitlyn Michalski have dominated the net for CSU on the season. The Buccaneers averaging 2.25 blocks per set as a team and have posted four matches with at least 10 team blocks on the season. Klein (1.21, 4th) and Michalski (1.03, 7th) both sit among the Big South leaders on the category on the season, while teammate Brooke Monssen (0.88) is just outside the top 10. Michalski already has a 10-block match to her credit coming on September 2 against Jacksonville State. Klein's last three matches have included nine blocks against Georgia Southern, seven against Jacksonville State and eight against The Citadel. Monssen recorded nine blocks against Jacksonville State.
Double-digit block matches
10 - Caitlyn Michalski vs. Jacksonville State, September 2