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Sept. 5, 2003


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Junior Niece Curry led the way with 15 kills for Carolina while newcomer Shonda Cole added 11, but the Gamecocks still fell to the 25th-ranked Spartans of Michigan State Friday night. 783 Gamecock faithful watched as Carolina tallied 57 kills on the night as the Garnet and Black fell to 1-3, with all three losses coming at the hands of nationally ranked teams. Game scores were 19-30, 30-24, 17-30 and 28-30.

“It was great competition and I thought we made some great plays,” said Carolina Head Coach Kim Hudson Christopher. “We had some crazy plays, but there will always be that factor in any match. I still believe we are in a growing process and it is going to take awhile, but this is what we need. Katelyn Panzau, Niece Curry and Shonda Cole all stepped up at important times throughout the match. I thought that was great.”

Michigan State out hit the Gamecocks .347 to .196 but held the Spartans only to four service aces and 13 service errors. Niece Curry hit .500, leading the way and recorded two of the four Carolina service aces. Libero Iris Santos made 12 digs while Nicole Miller recorded 10 digs, leading the defensive effort in a close match for Carolina.

Sophomore Sarah Morgan led USC in game one, notching four kills and three digs as Carolina kept within two for most of the match until, when down 15-13, Michigan State lurched forward with a 6-0 run and the Spartans never looked back. Diana Steplyk led the Spartans with five kills as both teams notched one service ace and committed three service errors.

The Garnet and Black took game two from the Spartans 30-24 as Niece Curry recorded nine kills in the game. Michigan State recorded five service errors in the match and hit a match-low .244 while Carolina hit a match-high .400.

Game three proved to be tough for USC as Michigan State hit an impressive .387 while Carolina hit a match low -.030. Michigan State held USC to only seven kills while Carolina committed eight errors in the game.

Game four was close for the teams as the Spartans edged out Carolina 30-28. Freshman Shonda Cole notched eight kills for Carolina while both teams notched two service aces, but Michigan State committed four service errors to Carolina’s one. Both teams tied in digs (11) as well.

Michigan State faces #17 North Carolina Saturday at 2:00 in game two of the Carolina Classic. The Gamecocks face the Tar Heels in part one of the 2003 Battle of the Carolinas Sunday at 1:30.