Nov. 14, 2004
Athens, Ga. – Despite falling to the Georgia Bulldogs 3-0 Sunday afternoon, the South Carolina volleyball team is still alive and will participate as the eighth-seed in the SEC Tournament next week in Gainesville, Fla. USC lost to the Bulldogs 31-29, 30-26, 30-26 in the Ramsey Athletic Center and is 12-13 overall and finished SEC play 5-11 with a fourth place standing in the East.
The Gamecocks were without outside hitter Shonda Cole who sat out to rest an ankle injury and were led by Lauren Ford with 13 kills and Nicole Miller with six total blocks.
“We missed Shonda out there today. Katelyn Panzau and Lauren Ford both had good matches but it was a team effort today and we are not playing well right now,” said head coach KimHudson. “We struggled defensively and were not able to stop Alexandra Oquendo. We made bad mistakes at critical times.”
The Gamecocks got off to a slow start in game one as the Bulldogs took a 4-0 lead to force USC to fight and stay in the game. Carolina remained behind until they tied 20-20 on a kill by Iris Santos. A ball handling error put UGA on top again but USC was able to stay within striking range. An attack error by the Bulldogs allowed USC to tie the game 23-23 and a block assist by Ford and Morgan gave USC its first lead of the day. The Gamecocks were up 29-28 on a kill by Nicole Miller before a service error allowed the Bulldogs to tie again. UGA was able to take advantage of an attack error by USC and a kill by Alexandra Oquendo claim the 31-29 victory.
USC was able to keep the errors down as they only had six and posted 16 kills in 38 attempts to hit .263. Panzau hit .600 with three kills and zero errors in five attempts while Ford hit .444 with five kills and one error in nine attempts.
USC was held to .111 hitting percentage as the Bulldogs controlled game two and won 30-26 to take a 2-0 lead. The Gamecocks tied the game twice, first at the 6-6 mark and again at the 8-8 mark, but once the Bulldogs took the lead the second time, USC would stay behind the remainder of the game.
In game three, USC fired back with energy and went on a 6-0 run to go up 16-10. A net violation awarded UGA a point and interrupted USC’s scoring flow and UGA began to chip away at the Gamecock lead. In a sloppy game, the Gamecocks would hurt themselves as they recorded 12 attack errors and had 14 kills in 51 attempts. The Bulldogs did not fare much better as they recorded 10 errors and 14 kills in 44 attempts to hit .091.
Carolina was up 19-14 before eight unforced errors put UGA in the lead 22-21. From there, UGA was able to hold on and clinch the win on a kill by Oquendo, her 15th of the match, 30-26.
The Gamecocks failed to record a win against an Eastern Division team this year. All five wins came against SEC West teams. This year marks the fifth losing SEC season for the Gamecocks, the third under Coach Hudson. Last year, USC finished 6-10 in conference play.
The Gamecocks will face No. 1 seed Florida at the tournament, which was upset by Co-SEC champion No. 15 Tennessee on Sunday.