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Nov. 7, 2004

Box Score

Columbia, S.C. – For the first time in the history of the series, the South Carolina volleyball team swept the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks 3-0 Sunday afternoon. USC successfully defeated the Western division leading Lady `Backs 30-23, 30-27, 30-22 and ended a five-match losing streak. Carolina came from behind in all three games to claim the victory and their relentless performance allowed USC to hold on to a seat in the SEC Tournament, Nov. 19-21. Katelyn Panzau gave a solid performance as the sophomore setter recorded 37 assists and a team leading 12 digs.

“This win is an important win. We played very hard and gained some confidence,” said head coach Kim Hudson. “We played well at the right times. We still made mistakes, but not at critical times. Katelyn played a great offensive match today and I was very pleased with what happened today.”

Statistically, the match did not appear to be impressive as USC led with a .182 hitting percentage and Arkansas was held to .025. Both teams recorded nine total blocks and USC recorded only one more dig then the Lady `Backs, 46-45. In the serving department, the Gamecocks had five aces to Arkansas’ one, but the stat that stood out was the assists category. Panzau’s 37 of USC’s 41 assists was more than Arkansas posted as a team, 28.

Sophomore outside hitter Shonda Cole registered her seventh consecutive double-figure kill match as she led with 14. This marks the longest streak of the season for Cole in recording double-figure kill matches. Lauren Ford followed with 10, had two service aces and four block assists.

In game one, USC was down 21-15 before Sarah Morgan sparked an 8-2 run with a kill to tie it 23-23. Seven of the 15 points USC scored in the last part of the game were a result of attack errors by Arkansas. Two ball handling errors and a service error accounted for three more points, while the rest of USC’s scoring came from kills.

The Gamecocks were down 25-19 in game two before the rally began for the second time of the match. USC was able to hold the Lady `Backs to just two more points by capitalizing on errors and registering kills. Three straight attack errors by Arkansas allowed the Gamecocks to tie and take the lead 27-26. Back-to-back kills by Morgan put USC up 29-26 and after a Gamecock service error, Arkansas’s efforts were halted as USC picked up game point on another Lady `Back error.

Up 2-0 after the break, USC was down early and it appeared that Arkansas was going to spoil the Gamecocks chances of the sweep with an early lead. Instead, Carolina was able to maintain focus and tied it early to take the lead. The closest Arkansas came to grabbing a lead again was when a kill by Denitza Koleva tied the game 12-12. From there, USC would roll on to a seven-point win and captured its first sweep ever against Arkansas on a final kill by Ford.

With the win, USC holds on to a spot in the SEC Tournament and improves to 12-11 and 5-9 in the SEC. Arkansas falls to 13-12 and 9-5 in the SEC. The Gamecocks will close out the SEC regular season this weekend when they travel to Gainesville, Fla. and Athens, Ga. to take on the No. 8 Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs.