CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Charleston Southern came into the 2018 season swinging as the Buccaneers topped Middle Tennessee State in straight sets to open the Catamount Classic in the Ramsey Center, 25-22, 25-14, 25-19.
Addison Kaderli paced the Bucs with a team-high 11 kills and a .381 hitting percentage as the Bucs hit .333 as a team throughout the match in improving to 1-0 on the season. Madison Malloch added seven kills and a pair of block assists in her first action with the Bucs, while Rachel Smith led the Bucs with eight digs from the floor.
Julia Valdez and Bailey Mason paced the Blue Raiders (0-1) with six kills apiece in the loss. Sarah Sumida added 21 assists, while Brienna Tankesley added nine digs for MTSU.
CSU took the early lead in the first set courtesy of a trio of MTSU errors. Kaderli put home the first of her six kills in the opening set to put the Bucs lead to 4-2. The teams battled through 14 ties and six lead changes throughout the opening set with Kaderli tying the frame up for the final time at 22-22. A pair of MTSU ball-handling errors put the Bucs within set point, before Hannah Western put home the final kill for the 25-22 win.
The teams again battled early in the second set with a MTSU service error tying the frame up for the seventh time at 7-7. Kaderli sparked a 9-1 run with a kill that featured a pair of Naiomi Rivera service aces to put the Bucs ahead 16-8. Caitlyn Michalski added a late kill as the Bucs cruised to the 2-0 lead with the 25-14 set win.
The Bucs rode the momentum from the first two sets into building a 10-4 lead in the third set following a Malloch kill. CSU's lead reached eight at 21-13 before MTSU rallied late. The Blue Raiders cut the match down to 23-19 following a CSU service error. Western swung service back to the Bucs with her third kills of the night setting up match point. Western and Macey LaPorte closed out the match and secured the CSU win with a block.
Inside the Numbers
- Charleston Southern hit .435 as a team in the deciding third set with four different players connecting on multiple kills in the frame.
- Addison Kaderli moved within seven kills of 900 in her career at CSU following her 11-kill performance on Friday night.
- Naiomi Rivera led the Bucs offense with 24 assists and added two service aces and seven digs in making the start.
- Madison Martin moved with 31 digs of 1,500 for her career following the match with her seven digs putting her at 1,469 with the Bucs.
- Ashleigh Holweger led the Bucs with three of CSU's six service aces in the match.
- CSU's worst hitting percentage in the match – .190 in the second set, came during its biggest set win (25-14).
News & Notes
- Charleston Southern won its season opener for the first time since the 2009 season when the Bucs topped Davidson in a four-set match in Raleigh, N.C.
- Ashleigh Holweger and Madison Malloch made their CSU debuts in Friday's match – Holweger as a true freshman, while Malloch redshirted in 2017.
- The Buccaneers opened the season in Cullowhee, N.C. for the third consecutive season at the Catamount Classic.
Player of the Match - Addison Kaderli
Charleston Southern has a quick turnaround as the Buccaneers open the final day of the tournament tomorrow at noon against host Western Carolina. The match between the Catamounts and the Bucs will be streamed live via ESPN+. CSU will also take on Robert Morris in their weekend finale at 4 p.m. in the Ramsey Center.