CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Southern volleyball team competed with intensity for five sets against conference-leading Liberty, with the visiting Lady Flames earning a 3-2 victory (23-25, 25-11, 20-25, 25-17, 15-11) Friday, Oct. 29 at CSU Field House.
The Lady Bucs are now 10-17 on the season, 4-8 in Big South play, while LU holds a 20-7 record, 11-1 in conference matches.
CSU led 2-1 after three sets, but the Lady Flames took the remaining two frames, downing the Buccaneers in five sets for the third time in the past four meetings.
During the match, CSU’s Amanda Hill sent down a match-high 24 kills. Hill surpassed the 1,800 kill barrier, becoming only the third player in Big South history to do so. She passed current Liberty Assistant Coach Jennifer (Belk) Vaden, who had held 3rd place all-time in the Big South with 1,789 kills.
Liberty hit .220 for the match, recording 66 kills, as five Lady Flames entered double-figures in kills. CSU connected at a .121 pace, with 47 kills. LU posted 88 digs to CSU’s 70 and earned 11 blocks while the Lady Bucs posted nine.
CSU took an early lead during the fifth set, and found themselves ahead, 7-5, after four kills by Hill, one apiece from Trinder and Holeman, and a Trinder-Erin LaVenice block. LU then earned the lead at the changeover with three straight points. The Lady Bucs tied the set at 8-8 with a Hill winner, but Liberty seized momentum with a three-point surge for an 11-8 lead. Klinger posted a kill to slice the deficit to one, and Hill followed suit after a rally point, but LU held on for a 15-11 win and 3-2 match victory.
Hill posted her career-high-tying 17th double-double of the season, adding 11 digs to her 24 kills. Tricia Rodl posted 19 digs, eclipsing 1,300 career digs in the process, the third player at CSU to achieve the milestone.
Emily Libertowski added 15 digs, while Maggie Murphy served up a career-high three aces. Cori Holeman recorded five blocks, and Amy Nokes dished out 40 assists. Amberle Trinder and Kayla Klinger posted eight kills apiece.
For Liberty, Karly Bacon led with 18 kills and a match-high 24 digs. Lillie Happel also earned a double-double with 10 kills and 14 digs, posting four aces as well. Loren Thomas hit .440 with 14 kills and six blocks, while Kendle Rollins (.444) added 10 kills and five blocks. Jade Craycraft led all players with 50 assists.
CSU took an early lead in the match with a 25-23 victory during set one. Liberty hit just .093 as a team and CSU attacked at a .125 success rate. The Lady Bucs took a 14-11 lead on Amberle Trinder’s third of four kills during the opening frame. LU battled back to take the lead at 18-17 with a 6-3 rally, earning three points while Bacon served.
Following a CSU timeout, Liberty went up, 21-19. Three LU attack errors gave CSU a 22-21 lead, prompting a timeout by the visitors. A kill by Hill made it 23-21, but two Lady Bucs errors tied the set at 23-all. Hill added a kill to force set point, and CSU won set one, 25-23 following an LU attack error.
Set two swung in Liberty’s favor, as the Lady Flames hit .455 during the second session. LU’s second-set kills were evenly distributed, as five players earned three or more kills during the frame. CSU posted a .067 attack percentage, with Hill posting five of the team’s seven kills.
CSU surged ahead with a 25-20 victory in set three, leading from the opening serve until an LU error ended the set. The Lady Bucs led by as many as six points early on, at 12-6. Liberty came all the way back to tie the set at 19-19. However, Hill registered kills on three successive rallies, and Trinder added a block for a 23-19 lead. Hill went 8-for-13 with no errors during set three. Holeman posted three blocks, helping the Lady Bucs to five team rejections while holding LU to a .089 attack percentage.
Trailing 2-1 in the match, Liberty converted at a .300 rate on the attack and served up four aces during a 25-17 match-tying win. The Lady Bucs led 4-3, finding early success, but LU staged a 5-0 run for an 8-4 advantage. CSU edged back as closely as two points at 8-6, but the Lady Flames pulled away to force a deciding fifth set.
CSU Head Coach Danyel Bellush said, “We had a lot of fight in us tonight. We definitely competed, which was our biggest talk all week. We just fell short against a really good team, the number one team in the conference. We’re disappointed with the loss, obviously, but we’re going in the right direction.”
The Lady Bucs will next compete at home against conference rival Coastal Carolina Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. Liberty travels to Rock Hill, S.C., to play at Winthrop Saturday at 2 p.m.