Sept. 2, 2011
by Koby Padgett
Assistant Media Relations Director
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A pair of double-doubles from outside hitters Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin and Bethanie Thomas sent the Gamecocks (5-0) past Davidson (4-2) in three sets, 25-12, 25-20, 26-24, on Friday night in front of 411 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
The sophomore ThÃƒÂ©venin posted 15 kills and 12 digs for the Gamecocks, while the freshman Thomas tallied 11 and 10 for her first career double-double. The middle blockers, senior Teresa Stenlund and sophomore Frankie Vain helped them out, posting nine and seven kills, respectively, and only had one hitting error between them. Stenlund added a season-best five blocks, being a part of all but one of the Gamecocks’ during the match. Sophomore libero Paige Wheeler added a team-best 13 digs and two aces, while junior setter Taylor Bruns tallied 41 assists.
Caroline Brown led Davidson with 13 kills and 15 digs. Molly Crenshaw added 13 digs, while Christine Perzinski tallied 10.
South Carolina claimed the first set, 25-12, behind two runs on ThÃƒÂ©venin’s serve. The Gamecocks first took the lead at 5-3 thanks to a four-point run. A five-point stand helped by two kills each by ThÃƒÂ©venin and Thomas made it 16-8, and ThÃƒÂ©venin’s next serve started a six-point skein to run the lead to 22-9. Stenlund posted two kills in that run. A service error by the Wildcats ended the frame. South Carolina hit .378 in the set, powered by six ThÃƒÂ©venin kills and four each by Stenlund and Thomas. Also making her debut in the set was redshirt freshman outside hitter Kellie Schmidt, who took two swings but did not record a kill. The Gamecock defense held the Wildcats to a -.029 hitting percentage.
The Gamecocks gained a large advantage early in the second set and held on to take a 25-20 win. A five-point streak on freshman outside hitter Hanna Forst’s serve pout the Gamecocks up, 10-5. Thomas had kills on either end of the streak. But the Wildcats fought back, drawing as close as two at 15-17 after a four point Davidson run. South Carolina finished off the set with an ace from Wheeler. Thomas and ThÃƒÂ©venin both had five kills in the frame, while Forst added six digs.
Davidson led for most of the third set, eventually claiming a 20-15 lead, helped by four Thomas kills in the set. But South Carolina would make a stand late, getting to within one at 21-20 thanks in part to two straight blocks by the Gamecocks, first from the combination of Stenlund and Bruns before Stenlund stuffed one alone. The Wildcats and Gamecocks traded points for a bit until the Wildcats got to set point. But Forst put away a huge kill before Wheeler’s second ace tied up the frame. Vain and Thomas combined for a block to put the Gamecocks to match point, and a Wildcat error ended the frame, 26-24. South Carolina had four blocks in the frame, while Thomas posted a team-best five digs.
South Carolina won or tied in every statistical category, including doubling up Davidson in blocks, 6-3, and out-hitting the Wildcats, .305-.096.
In the day’s other matches, UNC Asheville swept Elon (25-22, 27-25, 28-26) before falling to Davidson (15-25, 22-25, 20-25). Elon bounced back to beat Gardner-Webb in four (25-17, 25-19, 24-26, 25-21). The Gamecocks won their earlier match against Gardner-Webb in three (25-13, 25-20, 30-28).
The Gamecocks face Elon at 12 p.m. and UNC Asheville at 7 p.m. on the final day of the Gamecock Invitational. Tickets are $5 for adults at the door and $3 for youth 17 and under.