Charleston Southern ends their 2018 home schedule with big matchups against Winthrop Friday night and Gardner-Webb Saturday afternoon. CSU fell at Winthrop earlier in the season and looks for a split and bids for a sweep of Gardner-Webb after a 3-1 win back in September.
The Bucs (10-10, 5-7 Big South) enter the weekend just one game behind UNC Asheville, USC Upstate and Campbell. Those three all sit tied at 6-6 for fourth-place in the Big South standings.
CSU comes off a 3-0 home loss to UNC Asheville as senior defensive specialist and libero Madison Martin became the program's all-time leader in digs. Her second dig Tuesday surpassed the previous mark of 1,833 held by Carrie O'Connell and Martin enters Friday with 1,846 in her four-year career.
In CSU's loss at Winthrop, the Eagles hit .293 over three sets as Makayla Doyle led all players with 12 kills and Madison Martin led CSU's defense with 19 digs. The Bucs' offense was headlined by Brooke Monssen and Macey LaPorte's six kills.
In that same weekend, CSU took down Gardner-Webb 3-1 claiming the final three sets. Senior outside hitters Addison Kaderli and Hannah Western had a dozen kills each, Naiomi Rivera added 37 assists and Madison Martin headlined a stingy CSU backline with 25 digs in the victory. As a whole, CSU hit .210 in the win – the best mark inside Big South play this season for the Bucs.
After falling in six-straight sets to Radford and UNC Asheville, Winthrop enters Friday riding a 3-1 win over USC Upstate. The .293 percentage against CSU in the last matchup is the fourth-best mark by the Eagles this season and second-highest against Big South competition.
Winthrop is hitting .174 as a collective unit in 2018 and sits third in the Big South with 12.85 kills per set behind only Radford and High Point. Makayla Doyle leads the attack with a .254 percentage ranking inside the top-10 of the conference.
Gardner-Webb enters their weekend with five-straight defeats to Campbell, Radford, Hampton, USC Upstate and UNC Asheville. The Runnin' Bulldogs have one of the youngest rosters in the Big South as freshman Kylee Garrison's 2.39 kills per set lead the squad. Gardner-Webb has nine freshmen on the team as four have played in at least 50% of the team's sets.
Gardner-Webb boasts one of the best statistical defenses in the league sitting second in blocks per set (2.29) and fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.175) and opponent kills (11.93 per set). Charissa Coleman and Hannah Donaldson headline the Runnin' Bulldog defense as Coleman collects 3.94 digs per set and Donaldson leads the Big South with 1.24 blocks per set.
Addison Kaderli, Madison Martin & Hannah Western - Charleston Southern, Senior Class
The senior trio of Addison Kaderli, Madison Martin and Hannah Western will play their final home matches donning a CSU uniform this weekend after turning in program-best careers. Martin is the all-time digs leader at 1,864 and has a chance to create plenty of separation between herself and the next-highest total. Kaderli has 1,052 kills to her credit and can reach the top-six in program history before the regular season is over. Western is just one of 10 players all-time at CSU with over 2,000 attacks and 800 digs and has a chance to reach top-15 all-time in attacks.
Makayla Doyle – Junior, Middle Blocker
In the last match against CSU, Makayla Doyle led the Eagles with 12 kills and hit .391 across three sets while adding four blocks. Doyle leads the Eagles this season with a .254 percentage and is part of a Winthrop attack that has five players with at least 2.0 kills per set.
Hannah Donaldson – Freshman, Middle Blocker
Hannah Donaldson leads the Big South Conference with 1.24 blocks per set while the Runnin' Bulldogs sit second as a team with 2.29 per set. In her last outing against CSU, Donaldson had six kills and four blocks.
The Bucs close the regular season with road matches at Hampton and Campbell, teams CSU went 1-1 against to open Big South play back on September 21 and 22 inside the Buc Dome. Friday's match at Hampton is the first visit to the Pirates' campus as Big South foes with first serve set for 7 p.m. Saturday's regular-season finale at Campbell is slated for a 4 p.m. start. Both matches will be available on ESPN+