Senior outside hitter Bianca Rouse (Columbia, S.C. / Keenan HS) climbed one spot on the Charlotte volleyball all-time career kills list, but for the first time all season, the 49ers lost in three sets (25-15, 25-22. 25-17) to the Kennesaw State Owls to open the Hilton University 49ers Invitational on Friday night. The match was the home opener for Charlotte, as the Niners fell to 7-3 overall. KSU improved to 9-3, winners of five-straight matches.
Rouse tied for the match-high lead of 12 kills, putting her at 1,122 for her career, leap-frogging Emily Bowers (1996-99) for 11th place in school history, just three behind Cori Dayton (2004-07) in tenth place.
The 49ers made as many errors in the opening set (nine) than they did the remainder of the match, as the Owls were able to put them away early for the opening-set victory.
The two teams played a back-and-forth second frame, with the Niners taking their first lead of the set after a 4-0 run for a 14-13 lead. The teams played to four tie scores in that set, mostly in the teens, until a mini-run of 3-0 gave the Owls the lead they would keep to the end.
The third set had KSU opening to a 3-1 start, but Charlotte scored another four-straight to take a 9-8 lead. The teams tied five times in the third set, with three lead changes until a 4-0 run and a 5-0 run in the teens gave the Owls the final advantage.
Charlotte's .164 attack percentage was the lowest in a three-set match this season.
Freshman Mireya Braxton (Charlotte, N.C. / Providence HS) and junior Amanda Videmsek (Highland Heights, Ohio / Beaumont School) had 10 kills each for Charlotte. Braxton was a bright spot for Charlotte, hitting a team-best .368 and tying for the match high of two blocks in the match.
Setter Lily Vera (Anderson, S.C. / Stone Bridge HS) finished with 33 assists, while senior libero Jenna Litoborski (Lemont, Ill.) had 12 digs and junior Chrissy Drake (Greer, S.C. / RIverside HS) added 11.
Day two of the tournament will be four matches, with Charlotte hosting UNC Asheville at 12:30 and Towson at 7 p.m.