Sept. 27, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Senior Meredith Moorhead posted a season-best 17 kills to lead South Carolina to a sweep of Mississippi State, 25-22, 26-24, 25-17, on Sunday afternoon in front of 621 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility and a regional television audience.
Moorhead stood as the only player with 10 or more kills and led the Gamecocks (10-3, 2-2 SEC) with a .625 hitting percentage. Senior libero Sarah Cline posted 15 digs, moving her into third place on South Carolina’s career charts past Amy Iannoccari. Senior setter Bridget Denson-Dorman had 42 assists, seven digs and six kills on the day, while juniors Megan Laughlin and Hannah Lawing both added nine kills. Caitlin Rance topped the Bulldogs (4-11, 0-4 SEC) with nine kills, while libero Leanna King had nine digs. Ioana Demian had a match-best 10 blocks.
Three times South Carolina got out to three-point leads in the first set, but Mississippi State came back, putting together a four-point string to take a 15-14 lead. The final point of the run came on a block by Dorey Gray and Demian. Another Bulldog block put the Bulldogs up 19-17, but the Gamecocks fired back to take a 22-20 lead on a four-point run that was capped by a Denson-Dorman dump. The squads traded sideouts till a handling error by Mississippi State ended the frame at 25-22. The Gamecocks won the set despite being out-hit, .345 to .244, as their hitting percentage was held down thanks to five Bulldog blocks.
In the second set, the Gamecocks got to a 10-7 lead after a four-point run that included two Moorhead kills and a block from the senior and sophomore Teresa Stenlund. The advantage was stretched to 15-11 on a three-point swing where Laughlin had two kills and a block assist with Denson-Dorman. But the Bulldogs came charging back, posting a six-point skein to take an 18-16 lead. South Carolina took back the advantage at 20-19 after three-straight Moorhead kills, but it was short-lived after a Gamecock attack error and a Demian kill. The Maroon and White got to set point after a Demian and Faith Steinwedell block. But South Carolina made a stand, getting a kill from Laughlin to tie it at 24-24. Then her fellow middle blocker Stenlund came in to get the last two points to hand the Gamecocks set two, 26-24. Moorhead had eight kills in the second.
A seven-point run early in the third set posted the Gamecocks to an 8-3 lead that they would not relinquish. Freshman Christina Glover and Laughlin both had kills in the run, while Lawing added an ace. South Carolina closed the set with a five-point run, with Cline landing an ace to end the frame at 25-17 and the match. South Carolina hit .467 in the final set, as Glover hit .800 (4-0-5).
The Gamecocks won all team statistical battles except for blocks. The win is South Carolina’s fourth straight at home when being televised, as it avenges the last TV home loss against Mississippi State in 2006. Cline not only moved into third in South Carolina history in digs, but she also became the third Gamecock in history with over 1,200 digs.
South Carolina continues the homestand next weekend when it hosts Tennessee and Kentucky. Friday’s match against the Lady Volunteers begins at 6 p.m., while Sunday’s contest against the Wildcats is set for a 1:30 p.m. first serve.