Season Preview: Buccaneers look to capitalize on senior leadership heading into 2018 season

Season Preview: Buccaneers look to capitalize on senior leadership heading into 2018 season

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Head Coach Christy Mooberry and the Buccaneers volleyball team opens up the 2018 season back in Cullowhee, N.C. for the second consecutive season as the Bucs travel to the Catamount Classic hosted by Western Carolina on August 24-25. CSU is looking to return to the playoffs this season as previews the volleyball team.

Position Breakdown
Outside/Right Side Hitters: Addison Kaderli, Madison Malloch, Hannah Western, Brooke Monssen, Macey LaPorte
Middle Blockers: Caitlyn Michalski, Caroline Demuth, Alexa Lister
Setters: Rachel Smith, Naiomi Rivera, Ashleigh Holweger
Defensive Specialists: Madison Martin, Skylar Blackmon

Things to Watch For
Chasing All-Time Records

Senior libero Madison Martin returns to the Buccaneers' lineup already possessing one of the most decorated careers in both program and Big South Conference history. The Birmingham, Mich. native already possesses CSU's single-season digs mark set back in the 2016 season with 665 digs. She followed up last year with 528, the third-most by a Buccaneer in program history. Martin enters the season with 1,462 digs sitting third all-time in the Bucs' career record books. She sits just 371 career digs behind CSU all-time leader Carrie O'Connell (1,833 - 1991-94) with the former Buccaneer great also sitting 10th all-time in Big South history in career digs. Martin, if she has her typical season, could become just the sixth player in conference history to reach the 2,000-career dig mark and first since Gardner-Webb's Anna Pashkova (2,312, 2012-15) achieved the mark.

Bidding to Join the 1,000 Kill Club
Senior outside hitter Addison Kaderli is also chasing a mark of her own this season as the Austin, Texas native enters the season with 882 career kills. She needs just 118 kills this year to become just the seventh player in program history to reach 1,000 career kills at CSU and first since Meredith Parrott (1,094, 2012-15) reached the mark. Kaderli has averaged 2.44 kills per set over her three seasons with the Bucs. The rising senior peaked in the 2016 season with 2.68 kills per set and will look to help guide the offense this season after a strong exhibition season that included 12 kills in a win over West Virginia State.

Senior-Led Play
Returning to the mix as well and rounding out the senior class is outside hitter Hannah Western. The St. Louis, Mo. native bounced back from injuries over the last few seasons to become a consistent scorer in the Bucs' offensive sets, as well as an all-around player defensively at CSU. Western finished second on the team in 2017 with 2.13 kills and 2.48 digs per set, finishing behind Kaderli and Martin respectively in both categories. She is one of a number of veteran pieces Coach Mooberry will be able to utilize this season as the Bucs also welcome back Macey LaPorte and Skylar Blackmon to the roster this season.

Setting Up for Success
Always smiling, always encouraging, Rachel Smith's knowledge of CSU's offense has been key since stepping onto campus as a true freshman in 2016. The Euclid, Ohio native enters the season eighth all-time in CSU's record books with 1,804 assists with last season's mark of 961 sitting 13th all-time in CSU's single-season history. Smith, as well as returner Naoimi Rivera, will have their hands full working with a blend of newcomers and returners in CSU's offense this season. Smith opened the exhibition season with 35 assists and 11 digs in leading an offense that hit .290 from the floor against West Virginia State.

Welcome the Newcomers
Madison Malloch will take the court for the first time in her CSU career after redshirting in 2017. Joining her on the court this season will be freshmen Caroline Demuth and Ashleigh Holweger, as well as junior transfer Alexa Lister. Malloch was a three-time All-Region selection from Hanahan High School. She will provide a boost to the Bucs' efforts at the net. Holweger led Springboro High School to back-to-back league and sectional championships as a two-time captain in Springboro, Ohio. The 5-10 athlete will provide solid depth as a setter and defensive specialist for the Bucs. Middle blocker Demuth joins the Bucs from Seminole High School in Largo, Fla. ranking third in the district in kills and fifth in total blocks. Lister transferred to the Bucs by way of Arizona State. She was a standout at Louisiana Tech with 323 total kills and 95 blocks over two seasons with the Bulldogs.

Player to Watch – Madison Martin
Madison Martin had a season playing alongside CSU standout Ashley Higginbothem before taking over the libero position and making it her own over the last two seasons. Martin established a new CSU single-season mark, boasts three of the top five individual match marks, and is currently fourth all-time in program history heading into her final season. The rising senior will look to bring her celebrations and athletic agility to the court as the Bucs prepare for the upcoming season opener against Middle Tennessee State.

Coach's Comments

Key Numbers
– Total career digs by CSU record-holder Carrie O'Connell (1991-94). Madison Martin enters the season just 371 digs behind the all-time record mark heading into the season.

1,000 – Addison Kaderli could become the seventh Buccaneer to join the 1,000-kill club this season with 118 more kills heading into her senior season.

8 – Wins needed to make it to the Big South Conference Tournament last season. The Bucs went 3-13 in conference play last season.

Up Next
Charleston Southern opens the 2018 season this weekend at the Catamount Classic hosted by Western Carolina University on August 24-25. The Bucs open the year against Middle Tennessee State on Friday afternoon with first serve set for 4 p.m. in the Ramsey Athletic Center.

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