CSU vs. PC Game NotesOctober 23, 2009
By CSU Sports Information
Charleston Southern continued their struggles on the road, dropping a 3-1 contest against the Winthrop Eagles, Tuesday at the Winthrop Coliseum. The Bucs started a comeback in the third set, taking a 25-22 win after hitting .333 as a team, but it was short lived, with the Eagles closing the match out after a 25-15 score. CSU dropped to 11-13 on the season and 2-7 in the Big South after the loss. Nichole Diller continued to come on strong in her senior year, leading the way with 10 kills 10 digs. Cori Holeman also recorded nine kills and six blocks, while Amanda Hill contributed eight kills and 13 digs. The Bucs now play the final match of their five consecutive matches on the road, vs. the Presbyterian Blue Hose. CSU is still in search of their first road victory in the Big South, with six of their seven losses coming on the road. Following the match with Presbyterian, the Bucs will play five of their final six matches at home.
BRING ON THE BLUE HOSE PART II
Unlike CSU, Presbyterian College has played the majority of their Big South matches at home, with a five match road stretch coming up after the Bucs. Despite all the home contests, the Blue Hose currently hold an 8-15 overall record and a 3-5 mark in the conference, having lost four out of their last five matches. Their most recent win came in a 3-1 victory over the Radford Highlanders. Lisa Shelley leads the way for PC, sending down 3.52 kills per set and tallying 2.24 digs per set. CSU met with the Blue Hose back on Sept. 26th in their first meeting, with the Bucs taking a 3-0 contest. Amanda Hill recorded a double-double in that match, with 14 kills, 14 digs and an .458 attack percent. Cori Holeman also contributed with nine kills, while Amberle Trinder sent down a career high nine blocks.
CSU Game Notes
CSU has struggled on the road in conference play so far this season. While the Bucs would have liked to add a win or two from those matches, CSU has been battling through a killer schedule. The Bucs are at the end of a stretch of five straight conference matches on the road. After this week, CSU will have played seven out of ten Big South games on the road. The Bucs have also played four games on the road that have been back to back, with UNC Asheville and Liberty being the teams they played first. While things have not gone as planned on the road this year, CSU will play five out of their final six conference games at the Buc Dome. Last year, the Bucs managed to win three straight Big South contests, including two at home, to end the regular season and move up a seed heading into the playoffs.
DIG FOR THE CURE
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many athletic teams across the country have been seen wearing pink, in order to raise awareness and funds. Charleston Southern Volleyball is doing their part, with a Dig for the Cure game scheduled for October 27th against Coastal Carolina. Players, coaches and staff alike will be decked out in pink during the contest. CSU Volleyball is also raising money all month, with a bake sales and other fundraisers going on during the upcoming games.
FRONT ROW FORECAST
Amberle “Thunder” Trinder and Cori “Lightning” Holeman have been two of the best Middle Blockers in the conference this season. Amberle gets her teammates fired up with her thunderous clapping and consistent blocking, while Cori brings an element of speed and is extremely quick off her feet. The two players have complimented each other nicely so far and as a result, they are both ranked in the top six in the Big South for blocks per set. With CSU ranked third in the conference as a team for blocks per set, the forecast for this weekend is showing a chance of thunder and lightning.
Charleston Southern played in a match for the ages on October 2nd against UNC Asheville, but came up just short in a five set loss. Despite the loss, CSU dominated the stat sheet, with more kills, attacks, assists, digs, blocks and a higher attack percent. 77 kills, 71 assists and 99 digs were all season highs for the Bucs. Four out of five sets were decided by two points after a combined 57 ties and 21 lead changes over the course of the match. UNCA still sits on top of the Big South with a perfect 4-0 record and a 15-5 record for the season. CSU will get their chance to even the score however, when they play the Bulldogs at home on October 31st.
Nichole Diller more than tripled her average for digs per set in the match vs. UNC Asheville, thanks to a career high 18 digs to go along with 18 kills. After the match, many Buccaneer fans were left wondering how the 6’3” Middle Blocker got credit for so many digs. The answer: Diller finally got a chance to show her versatility during her senior year. In the close match she was left in to rotate in the back row, where she held her own and gave CSU a chance for the win.
The matchup between CSU and the College of Charleston has historically been one sided, with the Cougars holding wins in the previous eight meetings. The two teams have not played since 2004 however, and it’s clear that the Bucs have improved drastically. In the most recent contest, CSU dropped the first set 25-23 but bounced back with 25-15 and 25-22 wins, to take a 2-1 lead. After trailing 17-9 in the fourth set, the Bucs dug deep and fought for a 26-24 win to take the 3-1 victory. Battling back in the final set could prove to be a turning point in CSU’s season, with Coach Danyel Bellush saying, “They showed me a lot about their commitment and hearth tonight.”
Referred to by her teammates as a 5-Star performer, Amanda Hill gets the job done with kills, digs, blocks, assists and service aces. The Big South also recognized her performance during the fourth week of the season, naming her the Big South Volleyball Player of the Week on Sept. 21st. CSU went 4-1 on the week, including four straight wins at the S.C. State Spikefest. Hill recorded 72 kills, 4.24 kills per set and a .384 attack percent en route to recording her 1000th career kill. She also tallied double-doubles in all five matches and came up with seven aces, 35 digs and five blocks.
Charleston Southern had a big weekend at the S.C. State Spikefest, winning all four games while Amanda Hill recorded her 1000th career kill. In a sweep over Alabama State, the Bucs hit .460 and allowed just 10, six and nine points in the sets, respectively. CSU finished off Saturday with a win over N.C. Central and had another 3-0 sweep. Day two of the tourney brought another pair of wins, starting with a 3-1 win over the Citadel, the second against the Bulldogs for CSU this year. The Bucs finished off playing the host team, taking their third sweep of the weekend, after another 15 kills for Hill. Hill was named to the All-Tournament team thanks to her efforts.
1000 KILL CLUB
Junior outside hitter Amanda Hill recorded her 1000th kill when she sent down her first kill against N.C. Central on Sept. 18th. She went on to record seven kills in the first set alone and 12 for the match, to lead all players. Hill is the fifth player in CSU volleyball history to reach the 1000 kill club, and the quickest to do so. Just one other player (Carrie O’Conner) reached the plateau in her junior year, before going on to set the career mark at 1469 kills.
CORI’S BLOCK PARTY
Middle Blocker, Cori Holeman has really come into her own during her junior campaign. Not only is Holeman second on the team in kills, but she is leading the team in blocks and is second in the Big South. She is currently one of only two players in the conference who averages over one block per set. Holeman sent down a career high eight blocks (1-7) against Georgia Southern on Sept. 16th, which ties for the second highest total in the Big South this year. She also recorded seven blocks in the big win over the College of Charleston.
BUC-WILD AT THE BUC DOME
Charleston Southern had a big win in their home opener, running away with a 3-0 sweep over Savannah State. The Bucs used a .556 attack percent in the opening set to take a 25-5 win. There was more of the same in set two, with CSU dominating in a 25-6 performance while hitting an even .500. The Bucs completed the sweep with a 25-18 score, after nine players registered kills for the match. The win marks the fourth consecutive year that CSU has started with a win in front of their home crowd.
NICE START AT N.C. STATE
Charleston Southern played tough in their opening weekend at the N.C. State Hilton RTP Classic. The Bucs went 2-2 with a pair of convincing wins over Davidson and Morgan State. They also went on to test the host team, N.C. State in a 3-0 loss and finished the tourney with a 3-2 heartbreaker vs. Campbell. After winning the fourth set vs. Campbell 25-12, CSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth and final frame. Unfortunately, the Bucs couldn’t slow down a 9-0 run from the Camels and dropped the set, 15-10. Amanda Hill was named to the All-Tourney team thanks to her efforts, compiling 53 kill and 45 digs over the four matches.
Last season, most of the speculation on the CSU volleyball team centered around how talented they were, but at the same time were extremely young. It’s amazing how much difference a year’s time can make. The Bucs return 10 players from last season’s roster, including all starters. A 2008 team with no seniors now has two great team leaders with seniors, Nichole Diller and Sam Sasan. The upperclassmen finally outnumber the underclassmen with six juniors, all who had significant playing time last year. If experience matters, then the 2009 Lady Bucs are set to make some noise in the Big South.
Charleston Southern is coming off of one of the most exciting finishes to a season in recent history. The Bucs finished the 2008 regular season with a three straight wins over conference opponents. With those key Big South wins, the Lady Bucs moved up two spots to claim the sixth seed entering the playoffs. That was the best seed in the conference tournament the Lady Bucs have had since 2002. Look for that momentum to carry over into this year’s conference schedule.
PROGRESS IN THE PROGRAM
After the 2008 season, it’s clear that coach Danyel Bellush has assembled one of the best teams in her tenured career. Last season CSU volleyball had the most wins the program has seen in 15 years. CSU strung together six wins at one point in the season, including a 9-2 stretch over 11 games. It was the largest win streak that the Lady Bucs have had since they started 7-0 in the 2003 season. CSU had a slow start in 2008, playing the likes of Clemson and Syracuse in a tournament to open the season, but at the end of their biggest win streak, the Lady Bucs boasted a 9-6 overall record.
KING OF THE HILL
Junior outside hitter, Amanda Hill, not only led the Big South in kills in 2008, but also broke a CSU single season record with 499 total kills. She also made her way into the record books in several other categories. Hill broke the single season record for attack attempts with 1296 and moved into 9th place in service aces with 40. She currently sits in 4th place in games played in a season with 128, along with several of her teammates. She was one of four teammates who recorded over 300 digs this season, and Hill’s 344 digs was good enough for 16th overall in a single season.
REWRITTEN RECORD BOOK
Senior setter, Sam Sasan also had her own truckload of top finishes added to the CSU record books in 2008. She is in 9th place for single season assists and also moved into 4th place with 2973 career assists. Sasan nearly broke the single season games played record, coming in 2nd with 129 as well as moving into 15th place on the career list, with a season still left. Sasan had a breakout season in the digs category, recording 357, which was second on the team and 14th in the record books. She is also in 9th and 10th place in career digs and aces with 848 and 94, respectively. All in all, Hill and Sasan, along with their teammates, accounted for 23 new additions to the CSU record book in 2008.
Charleston Southern was picked to finish seventh in conference play this season. After a sixth place finish last season, CSU will look to surprise some teams in Big South competition.
2009 Big South Pre-Season Projections
Rk Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Liberty (9) 81
2. Coastal Carolina 67
3. UNC Asheville 62
4. High Point 51
5. Winthrop 49
6. Presbyterian 28
7. Charleston Southern 27
8. Radford 24
9. Gardner-Webb 16