The College of Charleston volleyball team kicked off its 2014 season this past weekend at the CofC Invitational on their home court at TD Arena.
The Cougars started off the weekend- and their season- on the right foot, taking down former Southern Conference rival Davidson in an exciting five-set match complete with drama and enthusiasm.
Junior Melissa Morello had a phenomenal showing, tying a career-high with 17 kills and dominating offensively. Seniors Sloane White and Cara Howley contributed as well, with 11 and 13 kills of their own, respectively.
Krissy Mummey started off her freshman season with a stellar debut, contributing 10 kills in her first outing.
The match was a back and forth affair, with the Cougars taking the first set 25-18, followed by the Wildcats winning the second set 21-25. The Cougars lost the third, 18-25, to go down two sets to one.
Charleston then kicked it into gear, dominating the fourth set by a score of 25-11 and rolling into the fifth set with momentum. The Cougars won their first outing of the season by taking the fifth set, 15-13.
On Saturday, the Cougars played a double header, but did not have as much luck as on Friday night.
During their afternoon game against Mercer, the Cougars lost in three straight tight sets (26-24, 25-23, 28-26).
Later on that evening, Charleston faced Kent State for the first time in program history. The Cougars introduced a brand new lineup of starters for this match, but the extra effort could not keep them from falling to the visitors. Charleston came out strong, taking the first set 25-15, but Kent State picked up its play and won the second, fourth and fifth sets for a Charleston scorecard of 25-15, 18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 8-15.
“It’s a disappointing finish to the tournament,” head coach Jason Kepner said. “But with that being said, the positive we can take from this is that there were a lot of people who played well for us this weekend. We just need to figure out how to get everyone on the same page. I think the newcomers did a good job and it’ll be important for us to have a short memory, improve, and re-focus our attention.”
It might not have been the start that the defending CAA champion Cougars wanted for their season, but there were some high points that indicate a bright future for Charleston. Morello’s stellar play earned her a spot on the All-Tournament team.
On Tuesday night, Charleston fell in five sets, losing 3-2 (13-25, 25-15, 34-32, 27-29, 13-15) to Eastern Washington at TD Arena, despite a 27-dig performance from senior Andi Zbojniewicz and having four players with double-digit kills (Morello, White, Howley, and Krissy Mummey).
The Cougars now head to Athens, Ga. for a tournament hosted by the University of Georgia this upcoming weekend, with teams from Belmont and Chattanooga also participating.