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Nov. 7, 2008

Box Score


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind solid outings by junior Ivana Kujundzic and redshirt senior Belita Salters, South Carolina defeated Auburn in four sets, 26-24, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, on Friday evening in the Volleyball Competition Facility.

Kujundzic’s 13 kills led the Gamecocks (19-6, 10-5 SEC), while Salters added 12. Salters also had a match-high seven blocks, with Kujundzic contributing two solo and two assisted blocks on the night. Sophomore Megan Laughlin had 10 kills, and classmate Hannah Lawing put in nine kills, eight digs and a career-high five aces. Senior Dinelia Concepcion made a match-best 14 digs. Junior Bridget Denson-Dorman added 41 assists and three block assists. Jessica Glover led the Tigers (6-20, 1-14 SEC) with 16 kills, while Kelly Fidero added 13. Setter Sara Shanks had a team-best 13 digs and 34 assists, with Liz Crouch and Jonelle Wallace making 11 and 10 digs, respectively.

Auburn looked to have taken the first set, taking an 8-2 lead early and working back to a 23-17 advantage later. The Gamecocks would tie it up each time, first at 12-12 after taking seven of eight points and again at 23-23 on a six-point run. The second block by Salters and Denson-Dorman in that latter stretch put the Gamecocks at set point with their seventh-consecutive point. But Auburn would tie it again at 24-24 on Melina Bukinac’s kill. South Carolina would not let that stand, as Kujundzic put away two balls in a row to close the set at 26-24. Kujundzic had six kills in the first while hitting .500.

The momentum carried the Gamecocks in the second set for a while, as they staked a 10-5 lead thanks in part to two kills and a solo block by Laughlin. But the Tigers came roaring back, capturing eight-consecutive points to take a 13-10 advantage. Glover made two kills in that run. The Garnet and Black briefly took the lead back at 16-15 on a four-point run capped by a Salters and Denson-Dorman block, but the Tigers answered with a four-point string to make it 19-16 for Auburn. The Gamecocks got within one at 21-20, but the Tigers got a block from Shanks and Glover to get to set point. Junior Meredith Moorhead and Salters kept the set alive with a block, but a Gamecock service error ended the frame for Auburn. The Gamecocks made just six digs in the second set.

South Carolina and Auburn stayed close through most of the third set, with the Gamecocks finally taking an advantage at 16-13 after a four-point skein that included kills by Salters, Lawing and Denson-Dorman. Auburn kept making it a one-point difference until Lawing’s serve. The sophomore landed two aces around a pair of Salters kills to close out the game at 25-19. Salters had six kills in the third, while Concecpion had seven digs.

The Gamecocks started the fourth set hot, getting a 10-5 advantage on a kill and two aces by Lawing. This time, South Carolina made it stand up. Auburn got within two twice, but the Gamecocks let them get no closer. A Tiger service error ended the match at 25-19. Kujundzic and Laughlin led the Garnet and Black with three kills each in the final frame.

South Carolina out-hit Auburn, .221 to .197, landed seven aces to Auburn’s four and made three more team blocks than the Tigers. Auburn had advantages in kills, assists and digs. The seven block assists for Salters pushed her to seventh in both block assists and total blocks on the South Carolina career charts.

The Gamecocks hit the road for the final time during the regular season, playing at Kentucky on Fri., Nov. 14 and at Tennessee on Sun., Nov. 16.