Nov. 23, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A red-hot offensive attack led South Carolina past Mississippi State in a 3-0 sweep, 25-10, 25-14, 25-8, on Senior Day at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
The Gamecocks (21-8, 12-7 SEC) as a team hit .536, the third-highest percentage in program history. Redshirt senior middle blocker Belita Salters led that attack with her .789 mark on 15 kills. That percentage stands second all-time for the Gamecocks, behind Lori Rowe’s mark of .870 against Appalachian State in 1983. Junior outside hitter Ivana Kujundzic had 14 kills, while sophomore middle blocker Megan Laughlin had seven kills on 10 attempts without an error and three aces. Sophomore outside hitter Hannah Lawing added six kills on a .500 clip to go with four aces and seven digs. Senior Petra Lorenzi had her second and third kill of the season against the Bulldogs (6-24, 1-18 SEC) and contributed seven assists and eight digs. Junior libero Sarah Cline led all players with 12 digs. Senior Dinelia Concepcion also had four digs. Mississippi State’s Ioana Demian had nine kills to top the Bulldogs.
After Mississippi State kept the opening set close at 4-4, the Gamecocks went on a four-point run that included kills by Kujundzic and Laughlin and an ace by junior setter Bridget Denson-Dorman. The Garnet and Black later pulled away with a five-point string, helped along by two Lawing aces, to make it 19-8 for the Gamecocks. Four of the final six points in the 25-10 set win came from Kujundzic, who had seven kills in the first frame.
After South Carolina’s initial breakaway in the second set to 12-5, the Bulldogs got no closer than five points. That came at 13-8, after a kill and ace from Demian. South Carolina shortly took back control, getting a three-point run that had kills by Salters and Kujundzic and a block by the redshirt senior and Denson-Dorman. Kujundzic closed out the second frame as well with a kill. Laughlin had five kills in six swings with Cline making six digs in the 25-14 second.
Mississippi State won the first point of the third set on Grace Hoyt’s ace, but that would be the last the Maroon and White would take for a while. The Gamecocks reeled off 11-consecutive points, including four kills from Salters, to put the third set out of reach. The Bulldogs did get a three-point run to make it 12-5, but South Carolina would slam the door shortly thereafter. A 10-point skein closed out the frame, which had three Salters spikes and two Laughlin aces, including the match-cincher. Salters had seven kills in the final frame, and the Gamecock defense helped hold the Bulldogs to a -.038 hitting percentage in the final frame.
The Gamecocks host nationally ranked Florida at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Volleyball Competition Facility for the last regular-season match of 2008.