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Nov. 6, 2009

Box Score


Coach Somera

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind the stellar play of middle blockers Brandi Byers and Megan Laughlin, South Carolina (13-11, 5-10 SEC) snapped a three-match losing skid with a sweep of Auburn (14-11, 6-8 SEC), 25-22, 25-23, 25-21, on Friday night at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

The freshman Byers hit .500 to go with a match-high 10 kills, which the junior Laughlin matched Byers’ 10 while adding an ace and five digs. Senior Sarah Cline posted 16 digs, and senior Ivana Kujundzic added 10. Redshirt sophomore Tory Anderson, playing in her first match since the start of SEC play, held top honors in blocks with six. Jonelle Wallace came off the bench for Auburn to post a team-best nine kills. Liz Crouch made 19 digs, while Sarah Bullock added 12.

Two different four-point runs by Auburn put the Tigers up, 19-14. However, the Gamecocks came storming back, starting a three-point string with consecutive Hannah Lawing kills. After a Bullock swing gave Auburn a three-point advantage, the Gamecocks posted a six-point run. Senior Bridget Denson-Dorman had an ace during the stretch, while Laughlin and Anderson combined for a block to put the Gamecocks at set point, 24-21. Wallace made the South Carolina fans wait a little longer, but Lawing found the floor with her next swing to end the frame, 25-22. Lawing had four kills without an error in the first and combined with Anderson for three of the four Gamecock blocks in the set.

South Carolina ran out to an early 10-6 lead, taking four of five points to get there that included a Kujundzic ace. The Tigers came back with six of the next seven points to take a 12-11 lead, getting an ace from Morgan Johns during the run. The Gamecocks came back to get the advantage again, making it 16-14 on a Byers smash. The lead grew to three after consecutive Byers swings, but the Tigers responded with a four-point skein to push ahead, 20-19. The teams traded sideouts until Lawing landed an ace to put the Gamecocks on top, 23-22. Johns tied it again at 23-23, but Laughlin gave Carolina the first chance at set point. Laughlin’s serve got Auburn off balance, giving Byers the unassisted kill to hand the Gamecocks the set-two win. The middles both had five kills each in the second.

Behind freshman Taylor Bruns’ serve, the Gamecocks ran out to a 8-4 lead, getting five straight points that included two Byers kills and an ace from Bruns. Auburn kept it close for a while, getting within one at 15-14 after a Katherine Culwell kill. But South Carolina proved to be too much, taking the final set, 25-21, when Byers polished off the Denson-Dorman set. Anderson and Byers both had four kills in the final set.

The Gamecocks out-hit Auburn, .228-.150, in the contest, and won the aces and blocks category as well.

South Carolina hosts Georgia on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. EST at the Volleyball Competition Facility, on the corner of Assembly and Blossom Streets.