CHARLESTON, S.C. – After a 1-1 weekend in which CSU stayed in the top-six of the Big South standings, they host another pivotal match against UNC Asheville. CSU and UNC Asheville enter the match in a tie for the final spot of the Big South tournament at 5-6 inside conference play.
UNC Asheville began their four-match win streak with a victory over CSU October 19 and enter the Buc Dome 5-6 after starting the season 1-6.
CSU is fresh off a huge 3-2 road win at Presbyterian Saturday as they took both regular season matches. A win Tuesday night would go a long way towards determining their tournament hopes and improve their seeding.
The last time the Bucs and Bulldogs faced off, Cara Guthrie had a match-high 15 kills as UNC Asheville outhit CSU .268 to .065. CSU was led by Brooke Monssen's nine kills, Naiomi Rivera's 21 assists and Madison Martin's 15 digs.
The second-hottest team in the Big South, UNC Asheville rides a four-match win streak and sits tied with the Bucs for the final spot in the Big South tournament. The Bulldogs downed CSU 3-0 the last time they met as they held the Bucs to just .065 from the floor. Three of the four wins have come as 3-0 decisions knocking off CSU, Presbyterian, Winthrop and Gardner-Webb.
The Bulldogs are led by Cara Guthrie's 3.37 kills per set (3rd in the Big South) and 0.36 service aces per set (6th in the league) while Julia Loveday sits seventh in blocks per set (0.90) and Madisen Zyburt is third in digs preset (4.92) just behind CSU's Madison Martin.
Rachel Smith & Ashleigh Holweger, Junior and Freshman setters
The duo of Rachel Smith and Ashley Holweger split setting duties in Saturday's 3-2 comeback win at Presbyterian. Smith had a season-high 26 assists while Holweger added a career-best 24 to secure the win. Smith secured 12 of her 26 assists over the final two frames while Holweger added nine of her 24. Smith also had a team-high 23 digs to headline a defense that saw five Bucs collect 11-plus digs.
Hannah Western, Senior, Outside Hitter
A senior from St. Louis, Mo., Hannah Wester collected her fourth double-double of the season behind 13 digs and 11 kills. The performance gave her two double-doubles inside Big South play as it was her first on the road since the College of Charleston Invitational. Western still leads the team with a .252 hitting percentage as the Bucs enter the final stages of the conference slate.
Cara Guthrie, Senior, Outside Hitter
The Big South's third-leading attacker, Cara Guthrie has been crucial to UNC Asheville's recent surge thanks to her 3.37 kills per set and 0.36 service aces per set. In her last outing against CSU, Guthrie had a match-high 15 kills and added 11 digs while hitting .371. In their win streak, Guthrie has 12-plus kills and 11-or more digs in each match.
In front of the CSU home crowd, Madison Martin is poised to become the program's all-time digs leader as she sits just two shy of the mark entering Tuesday. Martin, along with her fellow seniors Addison Kaderli and Hannah Western, have positioned themselves to etch their name among the program's all-time greatest by the time their careers end.
Before and during Tuesday's match there will be a Toy Drive to support Operation Christmas Child. Students who donate a shoebox filler item will receive chapel credit for attending the game. Items should be new, unused, and unopened.
CSU closes the home slate with matches against Winthrop and Gardner-Webb this weekend before the regular season ends on the road the following week. Saturday marks the final home match for seniors Martin, Kaderli and Western after strong careers both on and off the court.