Oct. 15, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Gamecocks (4-14, 1-7 SEC) put forth a scrappy effort in front of 706 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility, but it was the Georgia Bulldogs (11-9, 3-6 SEC) who came out on top, 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, in a four-set match on Friday night.
South Carolina, playing with a short bench due to maladies affecting two starters, got big outings from its outside hitters. Freshman Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin led the squad with 14 kills while hitting a career-best .303, while sophomore Christina Glover posted 10 kills, her second double-digit kill effort of the season. Both added eight digs, while Glover had a career-best four blocks, including one solo. ThÃƒÂ©venin posted three aces as well. Freshman Megan Kent, making her first career start, tallied eight kills and a team-best .375 hitting percentage. Fellow opposite Olivia Ryder also had eight kills without making an error on a .348 hitting night. Senior libero Hannah Lawing posted a match-best 18 digs, while sophomore middle blocker Brandi Byers made eight blocks, topping her career best.
Ann Dylla led Georgia with 16 kills, while Kathleen Luft added 15 as well as 10 digs. Valentina Gonzalez hit .571 with 14 kills, six digs and team bests with five blocks and four aces. Setter Kathleen Gates had 45 assists, 10 digs, five kills and three aces, while Carla Tietz posted 17 digs.
The Bulldogs ran away with the first set, hitting .387 in a 25-16 win. A 7-0 run to start the frame set the tone, as the Gamecocks only posted consecutive points on five occasions. Luft had five kills and Dylla four, both without errors, while Gonzalez added four blocks, including two solo stuffs, in the first.
The second set saw the Gamecocks get out to the early lead, but five straight Georgia points near midway handed the Bulldogs the lead at 14-11, one they would never relinquish. A three-point stand that included a kill and an ace from ThÃƒÂ©venin got the Gamecocks to within one, but Georgia answered with its own three-point run to make it 23-19. Gonzalez got the Bulldogs to set point on a Gonzalez kill, and Dylla snuffed out the final South Carolina threat with her fourth kill of the second, ending it at 25-22. Five Bulldog blocks, including three assisted by both Dylla and Simone May, led to the Gamecocks’ downfall.
Georgia ran out to an 11-4 lead, helped by two Brittany Northcutt kills, in the third before the Gamecocks started clawing their way back. A pair of three-point swings got South Carolina within five and three before a third made it a one-point match at 18-17. The teams swapped side outs for a stretch before Glover started the final four-point sequence with a kill. Byers made a solo block before Glover polished off the set at 25-23 with a pair of kills, part of her five without an error. Three Gamecock blocks proved to be the difference, compared to none for Georgia in the third.
In an extremely tight fourth set that saw 11 ties and six lead changes, Georgia used a three-point skein all from Gonzalez to get the advantage. With the Bulldogs down, 17-18, the senior from Mexico got a kill and consecutive aces to swing the momentum and the score in Georgia’s favor. The Gamecocks tied things again at 21-21 on ThÃƒÂ©venin’s service ace, but the Bulldogs used a great dump by Gates to get to set point. Gonzalez ended it soon after as she drove down an overpass to clinch the set, 25-23, and match. She was perfect on four swings while adding those two aces, trumping Ryder’s four kills without an error in the fourth.
The Gamecocks tied Georgia with 10 blocks, but the Bulldogs held advantages in everything else, including in aces, 13-9, and kills, 60-47. Senior Megan Laughlin and junior Teresa Stenlund both sat out the match due to separate ailments, marking the first time either had missed a set this season.
South Carolina hosts Auburn on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in the Volleyball Competition Facility. The Gamecocks are hosting Girl Scout Day, while the first 500 kids can get a Gamecock silly band for attending the match.