CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern dominated the third and fourth sets on Friday night as the Buccaneers completed the season sweep over UNC Asheville with a 3-1 win in the Buccaneer Field House. The Bucs hit .369 as a team over the final two sets on the way to winning 25-22, 18-25, 25-14, 25-15.
CSU (11-12, 6-1) bounced back from its first Big South Conference loss of the season last weekend against Liberty and overcame a sluggish start on the way to topping the Bulldogs for the second time in the 2016 season.
"The good thing about losses is that you ask yourself how you can get better," CSU head volleyball coach Christy Mooberry said following the match. "Coming off the loss to Liberty, it was a good opportunity to ask how we could push ourselves to be better this week. I think the girls embraced that and ran with it tonight."
Asheville (10-11, 4-6) rallied back in the second set and held the Bucs to a .023 hitting percentage in the frame to even the score at 1-1 heading into the break. CSU went back to the basics over the final two sets with the Bucs recording just one attack error over their final 65 swings.
"We talked about the expectations during the break," Mooberry commented. "Our defense and our serve receive were doing a good job. We needed our setter to put the ball in the right location and she came out and did great in the final two sets. We also needed our hitters to put the ball away and they did a great job in that regard. Basically, we just stated the obvious in the break and we went after those things."
Junior middle blocker Kylie Klein paced the CSU offense on the night with a season-high 13 kills. The Highlands Ranch, Colo. native hit a team-best .407 from the floor with seven kills coming in the final two sets.
"The nice thing about Kylie is that she always has confidence and never doubts herself," Mooberry said. "She's always going to be aggressive with her attack. There's never a question about it; she's competitive and she's always going to try to score."
Sophomore libero Madison Martin had 20 digs through the first two sets and finished with a team-high 28 digs in the match to lead a CSU defensive effort that held Asheville to a .098 hitting percentage. Taylor Marin (14), Addison Kaderli (13), Rachel Smith (10) and Taylor Allman (10) were also in double-digits in the digs category for the Bucs as CSU showcased its depth on the back row in the match.
"Our defense did a solid job tonight," Mooberry said. "That's one of the things we talked about during the break. It was nice to put Taylor Allman in a different position out there and to have Taylor Marin back in the rotation. They all worked as a unit tonight and that's what we've talked about this season. They did a great job."
The Bucs face a short turnaround time as they welcome Big South preseason favorite High Point to the Buccaneer Field House tomorrow afternoon. First serve between CSU and the Panthers is set for 2 p.m.
Kaderli and Smith both recorded double-doubles for the Buccaneers in the four-set win. Kaderli finished with 11 kills and 13 digs, while Smith recorded a match-high 40 assists to go with 10 digs. Brooke Monssen and Connor Malone led the Bucs' blocking efforts with four blocks apiece.
Cara Guthrie, Madison Vaughn, and Shelby Erickson led Asheville with 10 kills apiece in the loss. Carter Kennedy was the team leader with 18 assists, while Madisen Zyburt led the Bulldogs with 23 digs.
The first set went back-and-forth with neither team able to build more than a three-point advantage before Charleston Southern took control of the set late. CSU broke a 22-22 tie on Klein's fifth kill of the set and the Bucs recorded the final two points on an Asheville attack error and a Kaderli kill to take the first set.
Asheville utilized a late 7-0 run to take the second set and send the teams into the break tied 1-1. Erickson led the Bulldogs with five kills and six digs in the frame as Asheville held the Bucs to a .023 hitting percentage. With the score tied 18-18, the Bulldogs closed the set out on Sheridan Salisbury's serve with Erickson connecting on a trio of kills to take the 25-18 win.
CSU led from start to finish in the third set as the Bucs took the frame, 25-14. Klein led the Bucs with four kills and a .800 hitting percentage in the set, while Smith had seven assists as CSU closed out the frame with 10 of the final 14 points in the win.
The Bucs kept the momentum going in the fourth set with a 7-1 run midway through the frame in building a 17-11 lead. CSU's lead reached nine at 23-14 following Smith's sixth kill of the match and the Bucs closed out the frame three points later on an Asheville attack error to record the win.