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Sept. 7, 2003

Final Stats?|? Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina recorded 13 total blocks on the day and served up 10 aces as the Gamecocks pulled an upset over the 17th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (3-2) 3-1 Sunday in the 2003 Carolina Classic in Columbia. Niece Curry led USC with 14 kills and 3.5 blocks as South Carolina (2-3) defeated the team that has knocked the Gamecocks out of the NCAA Tournament the past two years. South Carolina recorded their first win against a ranked team this season in four attempts. Four Gamecocks recorded double-digit kills in the match in front of 697 screaming fans.

“This is a great win for us,” said South Carolina Head Coach Kim Hudson Christopher. “We grew a lot in mental toughness today. I am pleased with our maturity in this weekend alone and I especially saw differences in Sarah Morgan, Katelyn Panzau and Niece Curry with their leadership on the team.”

Game scores for the match were 30-27, 25-30, 30-16 and 30-27 with three of the four games not having a score difference of more than six. Despite being out-dug (61-58) and out-attacked (169-159), the South Carolina out hit the Tar Heels .220 to .254 and served up seven more aces than UNC. South Carolina built a brick wall in front of the net throughout the entire match, making 13 total team blocks on the day with three block solos, compared to North Carolina’s five total team blocks.

Sarah Morgan came out firing in game one, notching six kills in a game that never saw a lead of more than four points by either team. South Carolina built up the defense early on, notching seven total blocks in the inaugural game. North Carolina had the score tied at 23 before South Carolina could finally build the led for good.

Nicole Miller came alive in game two, firing six kills, but the Gamecocks were out hit .233 to .200. The Gamecocks recorded more kills, more digs, more aces, and more blocks than the Tar Heels, but three untimely errors by USC late in the game set up North Carolina with a 29-24 lead as a Katie Wright kill for UNC sealed the lone game victory of the match for UNC.

South Carolina dominated game three, bolting out to a 20-9 lead and never looked back. The Garnet and Black recorded three total team blocks and out dug the Tar Heels 14-9 as North Carolina could never get a strong rally going to mount the comeback. South Carolina shut down the North Carolina attack, holding the Tar Heels to .088 hitting in the game.

Game four proved to be a nail biter as long rallies tested each teams physical and mental toughness. The Gamecocks led 15-10 early on, but the Tar Heels refused to quit and fought back to pull within one point at 20-19. The rest of the game was back and forth as tough defensive efforts by both teams came out. North Carolina made 17 digs to the Gamecocks’ 16. Serving was the key factor in game four as North Carolina committed three service aces as the Gamecocks served up three aces, including two by redshirt freshman Lynae Vanden Hull in a season high three ace night.

Gamecocks Niece Curry and Lauren Ford were named to the all tournament team.

South Carolina travels to Clemson, S.C., to face their archrival Tigers of Clemson University Tuesday night at 7 p.m.