Charleston Southern falls in thrilling five set match to UNC Asheville

Charleston Southern falls in thrilling five set match to UNC Asheville

CHARLESTON, S.C. - In a match that went back and forth, with both teams seeing both highs and lows on the court, Charleston Southern was outlasted by UNC Asheville on Friday evening inside the Buc Dome as the Buccaneers fell at the hands of the Bulldogs, 25-22, 14-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-9.

The deciding fifth set saw a pair of furious rallies as Asheville jumped out to the 8-3 lead in the frame, building off of their momentum from the tying fourth set as the Bulldogs used four kills by Christine Lakatos during the stretch to build the five point advantage at the turnaround. Charleston Southern responded with three consecutive points, with each serve building the excitement of the crowd to a roar, but the Bulldogs rattled off seven of the final 10 points of the set to silence the crowd and end the evening with the 15-9 set win in completing the comeback.

Charleston Southern fell to 5-19, 0-9 in Big South play with the loss on Friday night, while Asheville improves to 14-9, 4-3 in conference action with the win.

The Buccaneers had four players in double-digits in the kill category against Asheville, led by a 15 kill performance by senior outside hitter Kayla Klinger. Katrina Houston added a double-double with 13 kills and a team-high 21 digs, while Cassidy Greer also recorded a double-double with 45 set assists and 10 digs in the match. Meredith Parrott racked up 11 kills and five blocks in the match, while Siraya Windsor rounded out the group with 10 kills and eight digs on the evening.

Defensively, Erin LaVenice had seven blocks to go with seven kills, while Taylor Allman had a career-high 21 digs on the night to wrap up the Buccaneers statistical leaders on the evening.

Lakatos led all players with 24 kills for the Bulldogs on the night and completed the double-double with 13 digs as Asheville hit .219 from the floor as a team in the match. Anna Moore was also in double-digits with 12 kills, while Katie Davis set up the attack with 54 set assists on the evening.

Rachel Wells led the defensive efforts for the Bulldogs with 24 digs and added a match-high five aces from the service line, while Davis had 12 digs and Alex Stewart contributed 14 to the team effort. At the net, Moore led the way with a team-high seven total blocks.

UNC Asheville took control of the first set early as the Bulldogs scored the first four points on Wells' serve and they did not look back in leading the frame coast to coast in the 25-22 opening set win. The margin rose to as many as seven at 19-12 following back-to-back kills by Davis, before Charleston Southern mounted a furious comeback late in the frame. The Bucs went on a 5-1 run to cut the lead down to two points at 20-18 following kills by Houston and Windsor, as well as an ace by Allman, but CSU was unable to bring the set all the way back as Catherine Fischer closed out the frame with the final kill to put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0.

The second set saw Asheville go up 2-1 on a kill by Davis, but the Bucs responded with back-to-back points to take their first lead of the evening as LaVenice connected on a kill to put CSU ahead 3-2. The teams would battle through four ties in the set before Charleston Southern broke open the frame with a 6-1 run in building the 10-5 advantage on a kill by Klinger.

The advantage grew to double-digits late in the set as CSU continued to display the hot hand in the set with the Bucs connecting at a .379 clip in the frame with Klinger firing in three consecutive service aces to cap off an 8-1 run in giving Charleston Southern the 20-10 lead. The Buccaneers coasted to the 25-14 set win with Parrott putting in the final point to even the match.

The match theme continued in the third set, with Asheville again jumping out of the gates on back-to-back aces by Wells as the teams battled through seven ties in the set. Charleston Southern took the lead at 7-6 following an Asheville attack error and the Bucs steadily built a four-point advantage on Parrott's serve in going up 12-8.

With the margin remaining at four points, Asheville rallied to close the gap, tying the set up three times at 16-16, 17-17 and 21-21, but the Bulldogs were unable to put the go-ahead point on the board. Windsor gave the Bucs the lead for good with back-to-back kills to put CSU ahead 23-21 and a block by LaVenice and Greer, set up the final point of the frame on a kill by Parrott to give Charleston Southern the 25-23 set win and 2-1 match lead.

The tightest contested set of the night came in the fourth frame as the teams battled through 10 ties and two lead changes before a late 8-0 run swung the set in favor of Asheville. The Buccaneers and Bulldogs battled to a standstill at the midway point of the frame, with the set tied up at 15-15 as Lakatos put in four kills, while Klinger and Houston had three of their own to even the score.

The teams split the next four points before a CSU service error gave Asheville the opening they needed as Lakatos connected on three kills and added a block with Moore, jump-starting an 8-0 run as Stewart served out the 25-17 set win, sending the teams into the deciding fifth set.

Charleston Southern is back in action on Tuesday night as the Buccaneers make the trip to nearby Orangeburg, S.C. to take on South Carolina State. First serve between the Bucs and the Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m.