Nov. 19, 2004
Gainesville, Fla. – South Carolina volleyball fell 3-0 to the No. 10 Florida Gators at the SEC Tournament Friday night. Game scores were 30-7, 30-20, 30-22. With just seven players available to play in the tournament due to suspensions earlier in the week, Shonda Cole led the Gamecocks with 11 kills and posted her 22 double-figure kill match of the year. USC is now 12-14 overall and will close out the 2004 season next Saturday in Columbia against North Carolina.
“I am very disappointed in our loss but I am pleased with the way we didn’t give up. Lexi Thomson has not set for us all season and I felt that she came in and did a good job,” said head coach Kim Hudson. “We have been through a lot the last few days. I thought that after the first game, we showed some character and played hard together. I am glad we didn’t fold.”
The Gamecocks were without starters Katelyn Panzau, Lauren Ford and Iris Santos who were suspended for violating team and university policies.
In game one, the Gamecocks struggled with the short lineup as the Gators cruised 30-7. Lynae Vanden Hull, Sarah Morgan and Shonda Cole accounted for USC’s three kills in the game. Three Florida attack errors and a service error gave USC their remaining four points of the game. In what was their lowest scoring game since the inception of rally scoring, the Gamecocks hit -.160 with seven attack errors.
The Gamecocks played more relaxed in the second frame and were able to keep the game close early on. USC went up 5-3 before the Gators charged back to jump into the lead. Down 15-25 in game two, USC was able to put together a 3-0 run as Jane Collymore recorded a service ace, Crystal Johnson and Lexi Thomson connected on block assists and Vanden Hull had a service ace, her 28th of the season. USC recorded 11 kills and eight errors to hit .065 while Florida had 18 kills and five errors to hit .342.
Carolina played more like its original form in game three as they scored 22 points and hit .190. Despite Florida’s 30-22 win, USC continued to fight in the match and forced six ties and had three lead changes. Cole led with six of USC’s 14 kills and had three of the teams six errors in the game. USC was down by three with 23-20 on the board before Florida went on a 5-0 run to get to match point. A kill by Nicole Miller and block assists by Miller and Cole interrupted the run before the Gators finished off the match with a kill by Collymore to take the victory and advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
The Gamecocks are now 8-13 in SEC Tournament matches and 6-33 against the Gators.