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Dec. 5, 2002

Box Score

Chapel Hill, N.C. – The South Carolina Gamecocks (22-6) set a season team record with 19 total team blocks on the night as they defeated the American Eagles (26-8) 3-1 to advance to round two of the NCAA Volleyball Championships. Gamescores were 30-10, 30-28, 23-30, 30-19. The Gamecocks will face the winner of the North Carolina/ Winthrop match on Friday at 7 p.m. Niece Curry set a new season-high for hitting percentage with .773 on 18 kills from 22 attempts, while Cally Plummer followed with 13 kills and Berna Dwyer had 10.

“It is great to get to the second round. This is just the fourth time we have made it to the second round,” said head coach Kim Christopher. “This is a new season. I am thrilled about our blocking and setting a season high. I thought we played a complete match despite all of the obstacles we have had so far.”

The Gamecocks dominated as they took game one from American 30-10. South Carolina jumped out to a 12-1 lead and led by as much as 20-5 at one point in the game. The Eagles were held to a -.194 hitting percentage while the Gamecocks hit .435. In game one, the Gamecocks out blocked the Eagles 9-1 and had 14 block assists to American’s two.

American fought back in game two and they kept the game close. The game was tied 12 times before the Gamecocks came out with the 30-28 win. With American ahead 27-26, Carolina’s Sam Alban connected on a kill to tie the match 27-27. Curry gave USC the lead with a kill and a block by Sarah Morgan put the Gamecocks up 29-27. American scored one again to come within one, but Curry recorded her fifth kill of the game to give the Gamecocks the win and the 2-0 lead in the match. Despite the Eagles out killing Carolina 21-15 in game two, the Gamecocks hit .343 to American’s .244.

The Eagles cut Carolina’s match lead in half as they took game three 30-23 from the Gamecocks. Carolina had a 4-2 lead before a power outage caused a 30-minute delay in the game. Once the match resumed, American clawed to a 7-6 lead and never fell behind. American went on a 7-0 run to establish a solid lead. The closest South Carolina closed in was within six points when they were down 22-28. Both teams recorded 15 kills for the game but USC was held to a .162 hitting percentage while American hit .393.

The Gamecocks snapped back to life in game four as they won 30-19. Carolina took an early 10-4 lead on the strength of Cally Plummer’s service. The Gamecocks never trailed after the first point and seemingly regained the confidence and enthusiasm they demonstrated in the first two games. Curry again led the Carolina offense, hitting a perfect 1.000 with six kills. Helping out the cause was Plummer’s four kills and Morgan’s three.