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Sept. 10, 2010

Final Stats | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

by Koby Padgett
Assistant Media Relations Director

Coach Somera Post-Match Interview

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (2-6) put together another dominating performance, sweeping Furman, 25-18, 25-21, 26-24, on Friday evening in front of 484 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility to close out the first day of the Gamecock Invitational.

Five Gamecocks with multiple kills hit .300 or better. Junior middle blocker Teresa Stenlund had the highest percentage at .615 (8-0-13), while senior outside hitter Megan Laughlin posted a .481 clip with 13 kills and no errors. Freshman outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led all players with 14 kills. Freshman Cara Howley added nine kills and a team-best three blocks. Sophomore setter Taylor Bruns had six kills and 38 assists, adding five digs. Senior libero Hannah Lawing put up 26 digs to top all players. Natalie Braun posted a double-double for the Paladins (2-6) with 11 kills and 11 digs, while Chandler Ambrester led the team with 13 kills. Kelly Kirby had 22 assists and 12 digs, while Elle Ross added 17 digs.

South Carolina fell behind a couple of times early in the first, mainly thanks to a pair of service aces from Sarah McCarthy in a five-point Furman run at 8-3. But the Gamecocks fought back, taking a lead on Bruns’ serve that included an ace from the sophomore to continue a four-point string. A three-point run later when Howley was serving pushed the led to 21-16. The Gamecocks put it away at 25-18 when Stenlund smashed her fifth kill of the set. Lawing had 11 of her digs in the first.

The Gamecocks trailed briefly in the second before Stenlund posted two kills during Howley’s serve to give the Garnet and Black a 9-5 lead. After Furman took a lead after a four-point run punctuated by a Braun ace, the Gamecocks stormed back for the next five points to retake the advantage at 17-13. Carolina had a 23-16 lead when Furman put a scare into the squad, making a four-point run to draw close. But kills by Laughlin and Thévenin around a SC service error ended the second at 25-21. Thévenin posted five kills in the frame.

Both teams battled in the third set, with no team ever getting more than a three-point edge at any point. South Carolina fought for the first game point, but back-to-back kills by the Paladins tied up the match at 24-24, the last by Braun on an overpass. But the Gamecocks called time, settled down and polished off the set behind kills from the rookies Howley and Thévenin. Both had five kills without a hitting error in the 26-24 set-three win.

The Gamecocks posted 55 kills compared to 41 by Furman, and also led in hitting percentage, assists and blocks. Furman had six aces, compared to three for South Carolina, while the squads tied with 58 digs.

In the day’s earlier action, Lipscomb swept past both Furman and South Carolina State, setting up a championship match against the Gamecocks for 11 a.m. EDT at the Volleyball Competition Facility. The Paladins and Bulldogs face off at 1 p.m. or 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first match.