Sept. 4, 2010
by Koby Padgett
Assistant Media Relations Director
ROCK HILL, S.C. – South Carolina’s comeback attempt fell short against the College of Charleston (5-1), as the Cougars claimed a five-set victory, 24-26, 25-18, 25-20, 20-25, 16-14, in the second session at the Carolina Challenge hosted by Winthrop.
A pair of freshmen both posted their first collegiate double-doubles. Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin led the Gamecocks with 22 kills and 10 digs, and Cara Howley had 15 kills, 10 digs and four blocks. Senior Megan Laughlin had 12 kills and eight digs. Senior libero Hannah Lawing posted 21 digs. Whitney Russell played an outstanding match, topping the team with a .436 hitting percentage, 29 kills and 14 digs. Elyse Chubb posted 11 kills, and Ginny Phillips had 10. Emily Shelton had 12 digs, and Cole Dawley had 53 assists and 10 digs.
The Gamecocks (0-5) looked to have locked up the first set after a seven-point run put them up, 15-7. But the Cougars fought back, getting a pair of four-point runs that cut the South Carolina lead to 18-16. After trading points, a kill from the Cougars’ Sarah Havel and an ace by Shelton cut Carolina’s lead to 22-21. A pair of kills by ThÃƒÂ©venin gave the Gamecocks a set-point opportunity at 24-22 but a lift call and a kill by Russell tied it at 24-24. ThÃƒÂ©venin gave South Carolina another chance at set point with her 10th kill of the frame, and after a Charleston timeout, Laughlin ended it with a smash. Lawing had seven digs to go with ThÃƒÂ©venin’s double-digit kills.
The second set started much like the first, except the College of Charleston was the team to take the big lead, holding a 14-7 advantage after taking seven of eight points in one stretch. Another three-point run for the Cougars, which included a kill and ace from Havel, made it 23-14. The Gamecocks tried to close the gap, but Russell put away the second with her sixth kill of the set.
College of Charleston ran out to a 7-3 lead before the Gamecocks tied it on a three-point run at 11-11. The Cougars slowly stretched the lead back out before a four-point run jumped it to 22-14. South Carolina fended off three set points before Havel put away a kill to end it at 25-20.
South Carolina took a tight fourth set, 25-20, with a late surge. One point, however, gave the Gamecocks the energy. Tied at 14-14, the Garnet and Black scrambled twice to get the ball back across before Laughlin put away an overpass to give the Gamecocks the point. A four-point run started by a ThÃƒÂ©venin kill gave the Gamecocks a 22-18 lead, and two Laughlin kills off the block tied the match at two sets each. Laughlin had five kills in the frame, while South Carolina hit .367 as a team in the frame.
The teams swapped runs to start, with the Cougars getting three straight to take the 5-3 lead. The advantage grew to 9-6 after a kill from Made McGinnis and a Gamecock error. The teams traded points till the College had set point. The Gamecocks stood tall there, putting away four straight kills by four different people to tie it at 14-14. But the Cougars would take the set, 16-14, and the match after a pair of Carolina errors.
The Gamecocks close out the Carolina Challenge at 7:30 p.m. against host Winthrop. You can watch the match live on the Big South Network at bigsouthsports.com for a fee.