CHARLESTON, S.C. - Connor Malone and Kylie Klein sparked Charleston Southern in the deciding fifth set as the Buccaneers bounced back after dropping the third and fourth sets to top Campbell on Saturday afternoon in the Buccaneer Field House. The Bucs improved to 3-0 in Big South Conference play following the 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 18-25, 15-13, win over the Camels.
Malone saved her best for the fifth set with the redshirt senior right side hitter connecting on four kills, including the final two points for the Bucs, in leading CSU to the 15-13 set win. Klein gave the Bucs the lead with a stretch that included a kill and back-to-back service aces to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 7-5 advantage. CSU (8-11, 3-0) never trailed the remainder of the set in closing out the win.
"I'm proud of their effort today," said CSU head volleyball coach Christy Mooberry. "They stuck with it after winning the first two sets and then dropping the next two. They turned the momentum around and pushed through it to win the last set. Mentally, they knew they could win it. It's a great thing for a young team to accomplish these things. We take a lot from the lead of our upperclassmen and our freshmen are mentally pushing through the hurdles for us to get these wins.
The Buccaneer victory was CSU's first win over Campbell in the Mooberry coaching era. The win snapped a six-match losing streak against CU dating back to the end of the 2012 regular season when CSU topped the Camels 3-0 at home on November 10.
"I think it's huge to get this win," said Mooberry. "A large part of winning involves changing the culture and expectations of the program. We've been working on our mentality and what to we expect from the team. They are going into matches expecting to win and playing to win and believing they are capable of winning. It's translating on the court."
CSU was buoyed by a pro-Buccaneer crowd inside the Buccaneer Field House in their first home match of the 2016 season. CSU's first 18 matches were on the road prior to Saturday's home opener against the Camels. Mooberry was appreciative of the crowd's efforts to help fuel the Bucs to the win.
"The crowd was awesome today," Mooberry said. "I'd love to give a shout-out to Fred (Applin) for getting a lot of students and athletes there at the match today. Our team is very social and had a lot of friends and family come to support them today. I'd love to see the support continue and can't wait to see the crowd we get on Tuesday night against Presbyterian."
Charleston Southern continues Big South play at home on Tuesday night in the Buc Dome against Presbyterian. CSU topped the Blue Hose in four sets in Clinton, S.C., on September 20th in the conference opener for both teams. First serve on the Big South Network is set for 7 p.m.
Addison Kaderli, Hannah Western and Rachel Smith all recorded double-doubles for CSU in the match. Kaderli paced the Bucs' offense with 15 kills and added 17 digs in the match. Western recorded 11 kills and 11 digs. Smith set up the CSU offense with 41 assists and added 15 digs.
Malone nearly joined the trio with her first career double-double but came up just short in finishing with 13 kills and eight digs. Klein added eight kills and four blocks at the net as CSU hit .193 as a team from the floor. Defensively, Madison Martin led five Buccaneers in double-digits in digs with 23. Caitlyn Michalski was the blocking leader with seven blocks.
Four Camels (6-11, 1-2) finished with double-doubles in the loss led by Loni Kreun's 14 kills and 11 digs. Jessica Stocking added 11 kills and 19 digs from the floor. Both of CU's setters, Summer Schuitema (30 assists, 20 digs) and Rebecca Ramirez (27 assists, 10 digs) also recorded double-doubles in the match. Allena Heath led the CU offense overall with 19 kills, while Kayla Schanback led all players with 25 digs.
CSU rallied in the first set after trailing 22-20 late. Kaderli sparked the late CSU run with a kill before Malone put in back-to-back points to give the Bucs the 23-22 lead. Malone and Michalski continued the run with a block, before the Bucs closed out the set on a failed set by the Camels to take the 1-0 lead.
The Buccaneers again utilized a late rally in the second set to take the 2-0 lead into the break. With the score tied 18-18, Michalski and Kaderli started a 7-4 CSU run with a combined block. Malone and Michalski added a block during the stretch, while Kaderli, Western and Smith added kills to seal the 25-22 CSU second set win.
The third set featured a pair of runs with Campbell building a six-point advantage late. The Camels went up 21-15 on Madison Linxwiler's serve as Heath drilled a trio of kills during the stretch. The Bucs faced set point at 24-17 before rallying back with a 6-0 run to narrow the CSU margin down to 24-23. Jenny Tait ended the CSU run with the final kill for Campbell's 25-23 set win.
Campbell took control of the fourth set with a 6-0 run midway through the frame on their way to evening the match at 2-2. The Camels went ahead 16-10 with Heath providing two kills during the stretch. Ramirez added two late service aces before Linxwiler and Kreun ended the set with a combined block in CU's 25-18 win.
Klein and Malone took control of the fifth set to close out the Bucs' win.