Volleyball Preview: Bucs close out Big South regular season slate at Radford and Liberty

Volleyball Preview: Bucs close out Big South regular season slate at Radford and Liberty

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern closes out the regular season on the road this weekend as the Buccaneers travel to Radford and Liberty in Big South Conference play. CSU takes on the Highlanders on Thursday night in the Dedmon Center with first serve set for 7 p.m. Saturday's season finale against Liberty will be held at Liberty Christian Academy with first serve at 1 p.m.

Links for live stats for both matches will be provided at CSUSports.com. Thursday night's match at Radford will be streamed live on the Big South Network. Updated for both matches will be provided on Twitter: @CSUGameDay

CSU Volleyball Match Notes - at Radford*, at Liberty*

Scouting Radford
Radford enters the Thursday night match having already clinched the top seed in the 2016 Big South Championships. The Highlanders are 13-2 in Big South Conference play with both losses coming on the road at Charleston Southern (Oct. 14) and at High Point (Nov. 1). Radford has won six of its last seven matches heading into the regular season finale against the Buccaneers at the Dedmon Center. 

Maddie Palmer enters as the Big South's kill leader on the season and paces the conference with 4.44 kills per set. Haley Keleespies, likewise, leads the Big South in assists per set with 11.24 on the season. Mallory McKnight is the hitting leader for the Highlanders with a .275 hitting percentage. Palmer leads the conference in aces per set with 0.43. At the net, Amaya Rousseau is the team leader with 0.94 blocks per set. Defensively, Kelby Jackson (3.82) and Palmer (3.19) are among the top 10 in the conference in digs per set. 

Scouting Liberty
Liberty enters Saturday's regular-season finale against the Buccaneers sitting second overall in Big South play. The Flames posted back-to-back wins over Presbyterian and High Point entering the match after falling on the road at Campbell on November 1.  The match will be played on campus at the nearby Liberty Christian Academy due to a schedule conflict in the Vines Center. 

Leah Clayton leads the Flames with 3.93 kills per set on the season. Anna Gragg is the Flames' hitting leader with a .306 percentage. Anna Willey sets up the LU offense with 9.65 assists per set. Sirena Vorster is Liberty's service leader at 0.32 per set. Defensively, Margaret Latchford leads the Flames with 3.35 digs per set. At the net, Vorster is the blocking leader with 1.10 per set.

Buccaneers drop three-set decision to Winthrop on Senior Night
Addison Kaderli recorded a double-double to lead Charleston Southern in its final home match of the 2016 season, but it was not enough to guide the Buccaneers past visiting Winthrop in the Buccaneer Field House. The Eagles topped the Bucs in straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-23. Kaderli paced the Bucs with 14 kills and 10 digs in the loss. The sophomore outside hitter had a team-best .214 hitting percentage to pace the Bucs from the floor. Naiomi Rivera set up the offense with 27 assists, while Madison Martin was the defensive leader with 17 digs.

Complete team effort leads Charleston Southern past Radford
It took a complete team effort in CSU's first match against Radford. The Bucs rallied back after dropping the first set to take the 22-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-22 victory over the Highlanders and improve to 5-0 in conference play. Redshirt senior right side hitter Connor Malone had a personal five-point swing to bring the Bucs back in the fourth set to erase a late Radford lead. Malone rallied CSU back from a 21-18 fourth set deficit with three straight kills and followed with back-to-back blocks to guide the Bucs to their second consecutive win over the Highlanders. 

Liberty ends CSU winning streak at five
Liberty outlasted Charleston Southern in a five-set thriller in the Buccaneer Field House. The Flames rallied back from a 2-1 deficit to take the 25-18, 12-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-13 victory. Hannah Western gave CSU the 8-7 lead at the crossover in the fifth set. Leah Clayton took over to close out the match, recording a solo block and a trio of late kills to push the Flames to the 15-13 set win.

Chasing the NCAA Leaders - Team
As a team, CSU sits among the national leaders in four separate categories on the 2016 season. The Bucs lead the nation in team digs with 2,115, second overall in team total attacks with 4,470, ninth overall in digs per set with 17.63 and 14th overall in team service aces with 171. The Bucs are also 16th overall in team total blocks with 270.0.

Chasing the NCAA Digs Title
Sophomore libero Madison Martin pulled within three digs of current NCAA digs leader Madeline Garda (Bowling Green) following Friday night's match. Following Saturday's match against Winthrop and Garda's match at Ohio, Martin currently trails Garda 633-609 for the individual NCAA title. Both teams have two matches left to play in the regular season with CSU traveling to Radford and Liberty, while BGSU hosts Buffalo and Akron.

Breaking Records
Sophomore libero Madison Martin has already broken the CSU single-season digs mark set last season by former teammate Ashley Higginbothem. Martin surpassed Higginbothem's mark of 603 set in 2015 this past weekend against Winthrop and currently has 609 digs on the year.

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. 

30 Dig Matches
Madison Martin and Taylor Allman both recorded 30 dig matches in the 2016 season. The duo currently are tied atop CSU's single match record book with 36 digs in a match. Allman set the record in 2014 in a four-set match against Presbyterian. Martin matched the record this season in the Bucs' four-set win over Radford on October 14. 

36 - Madison Martin vs. Radford, October 14
35 - Madison Martin vs. Gardner-Webb, November 4
34 - Madison Martin at Campbell, October 29
31 - Taylor Allman at Western Carolina, August 27
30 - Madison Martin vs. Savannah State, September 1 

Block Party
Kylie Klein and Brooke Monssen have led the Bucs in blocking on the season, but CSU's depth at the net has been showcased by Caitlyn Michalski and Connor Malone both achieving 10-block matches in 2016. The Bucs currently trail Liberty overall on the season in blocks per set 2.49-2.25. 

10 - Caitlyn Michalski vs. Jacksonville State, September 2
10 - Connor Malone vs. Gardner-Webb, November 4

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