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Sept. 30, 2007

Final Stats

MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. – Four Gamecocks had double-digit kills, including a double-double from sophomore Ivana Kujundzic, to lead South Carolina to a 3-1 victory over Mississippi State, 30-19, 26-30, 30-28, 30-27, at the Newell-Grissom Building on Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks captured their first win in Southeastern Conference play, moving their record to 8-7, 1-5 in league play, while the Bulldogs fall to 6-9 and 1-5 in the SEC.

Kujundzic had her second straight double-double, collecting 17 digs along with 12 kills. Senior Belita Salters and freshman Megan Laughlin led the way with 13 kills, with Salters also topping the squad with her .500 hitting percentage. Laughlin also had five blocks, two of the solo variety. Sophomore Meredith Moorhead had 11 kills, while sophomore libero Sarah Cline topped the squad with 22 digs. Freshman setter Jordan Bradosky also had a double-double with 15 assists and 13 digs.

Cristina Jucan led Mississippi State with 15 kills and a squad-best 18 digs. Eva Kriegel had a double-double with 32 assists and 15 digs, one of four Bulldogs to record double-digit digs.

The Gamecocks took control of game one after falling behind, 6-5. South Carolina rolled off six straight points, with three coming from both freshman Dani Bedore and Salters, including a block from the duo. Carolina had three other stretches of three points or more to run away with the game, taking 25 of the final 38 points. Salters had five kills in the game and hit .833 to lead the way. Bedore had two, while Laughlin added two kills and an ace. The Bulldogs hit just .027 in the game, hurt by nine attack errors.

South Carolina took an early 7-3 lead in the second frame, after a pair of Laughlin kills and an ace from Kujundzic. The lead moved out to 12-6 before Mississippi State started its comeback. Three Bulldog points made the score 12-9, and they would continue to chip away until 18-15. State went on a four-point run that gave them their first lead in the game. The Gamecocks responded by taking four of the next five points to lead again, 22-20. The teams swapped points until 24-22, when the `Dogs went on another three-point streak. A Laughlin kill tied up the match again at 25, but the Maroon and White would not be denied, taking five of the final six points in the frame, 30-26.

Game three was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams staying within three points of each other through the final half of the frame. The Gamecocks got consecutive kills from Moorhead to take a 25-24 advantage. A State side out knotted the match up, but Salters came back with a kill before a Bulldog attack error gave Carolina the two-point lead. After swapping points, the Dogs came back to tie the match after a Garnet error and a kill from Ioana Demian. But Kujundzic ended the match with a kill and a serve that contributed to another Bulldog error, one of 10 in the game. The Bulldogs hit .043 in the game, hurt by the four Gamecock blocks.

The Garnet and Black ran out to a 6-2 lead behind Laughlin’s skein of three kills. The Gamecocks extended the lead to 20-13 before the Bulldogs fought back to within one at 27-26. Moorhead halted the comeback for a point with her kill at 28-26, and another Moorhead kill put Carolina on the brink of the win. An attack error by State ended the game and handed the Gamecocks their first SEC win of the year.

The Gamecocks hit .208 in the match and held the Bulldogs to a .094 hitting percentage. South Carolina also led the way in kills and blocks.

South Carolina returns home to take on Tennessee and Kentucky next weekend at the Volleyball Competition Facility. Friday’s match, set for 7 p.m. against the Lady Vols, will be South Carolina’s “Dig for the Cure” night, with a silent auction taking place to raise money for breast cancer research.

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