CHARLESTON, S.C. – Coming off a thrilling 3-2 victory over Big South power Radford last Friday, CSU hits the road to take on UNC Asheville and USC Upstate in search of another streak.
Despite playing three of the conference's top-five teams, the Bucs finished their homestand 2-1 with five-set victories over Presbyterian and Radford with their lone blemish coming to first-place High Point. In CSU's two wins, the duo of Brooke Monssen and Addison Kaderli paced the attack while Madison Martin, Skylar Blackmon, Rachel Smith and Caitlyn Michalski paced the defense.
CSU enters the weekend fourth in the standings with a chance to move within a half-game of third-place Radford with two wins and a Highlander loss. If the season were to end before the weekend, CSU would qualify for the Big South tournament as the No. 4 seed and would face No. 5 seed Campbell in the quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs enter the weekend having lost three straight in conference play and sit 1-6 overall through their first seven Big South matches. Their lone win came 3-0 over Gardner-Webb on October 5 inside the Justice Center.
UNC Asheville is led by Cara Guthrie's 3.15 kills per set, which are third-most in the Big South. Guthrie, along with Julia Borges and Ansley Rooks, gives the Bulldogs a three-headed attack at the net that sits third in the conference in hitting percentage (.195). Defensively, UNC Asheville sits 10th in opponents' hitting percentage (.227), fifth in blocks (1.79 per set) and sixth in digs (14.61 per set).
Saturday marks the first showdown with CSU as Big South foes as the Spartans have won three of their past four including a 3-2 road win at Presbyterian Tuesday night. USC Upstate enters the weekend second in the Big South in blocks (2.02 per set) behind only Gardner-Webb.
The Spartans are led by Madison Kaake's 8.96 assists per set – third in the conference – as well as Emily Russell's 1.11 blocks per set – good for second in the Big South. In their first season as a Big South member, USC Upstate has a 4-5 record with wins over Hampton, Gardner-Webb, UNC Asheville and Presbyterian. They also hold a 4-3 record inside the G.B. Hodge Center on the season.
Addison Kaderli, Senior, Outside Hitter
Over the past few matches, Addison Kaderli has been electric at the net. The senior collected her 1,000th career kill at home against High Point then proceeded to turn-in a season-best 18 in a 3-2 win over Radford. Her 3.60 kills per set sat among the top-five of the Big South last week as she has 39 over her past three appearances.
Brooke Monssen, Junior, Outside Hitter
Since returning to the lineup, Brooke Monssen has opened the attack more giving the Bucs five different options at the net. She had a huge 17-kill performance against Presbyterian and turned in 16 in a win over Radford. Monssen is averaging a career-best 2.59 kills per set while adding 0.72 blocks per set.
Player, Class, Position
A senior from Jupiter, Fla., Cara Guthrie paces the Bulldog attack with her 3.15 kills per set – good for third in the Big South. Guthrie has turned-in four double-doubles on the season including three-straight against Davidson, The Citadel and Western Carolina – a 2-1 stretch for UNC Asheville.
Emily Russell, R-Sophomore, Middle Blocker
A sophomore from Mills River, N.C., Emily Russell leads the Spartans with 1.11 blocks per set while sitting second in kills per set (2.32) and third in hitting percentage (.223). Russell is coming off a season-best 17-kill performance at Presbyterian as she's collected 10-plus kills in six of nine conference matches and five of her past six overall.
Senior defensive specialist Madison Martin is just six digs from moving into a tie for second place on the program's all-time list with Ashley Higginbothem. Martin also sits just 89 from becoming the program's all-time leader with nine matches left on the regular season schedule.
CSU travels to first-place High Point to complete their home-and-home matchup Friday, October 26 before heading to Presbyterian Saturday, October 27. Friday's match is slated for a 7 p.m. start while Saturday's first serve is scheduled for 4 p.m.