Oct. 16, 2011
by Koby Padgett
Assistant Media Relations Director
UNIVERSITY, Miss. – The return of sophomore outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin sparked South Carolina (10-9, 1-8 SEC), as the Gamecocks claimed a four-set win at Ole Miss (5-13, 1-9 SEC) 18-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-22, on Sunday afternoon at the Gillom Sports Center.
ThÃƒÂ©venin posted 17 kills and 10 digs in her first match in three weekends, bringing some balance to the Gamecock attack. Senior middle blocker Teresa Stenlund and redshirt freshman outside hitter Cara Howley both posted .524 hitting percentages, with Howley tallying 12 kills and Stenlund 11. Stenlund also posted six blocks, two shy of her season high, and Howley landed a career-best two aces. Freshman outside hitter Bethanie Thomas had eight kills and 10 digs, while junior setter Taylor Bruns posted five kills, 48 assists and 10 digs.
Kara Morgan led Ole Miss with 15 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Morgan Springer added a match-high 16 digs.
A close first set tied at 14-14 broke open, as Ole Miss claimed the frame, 25-18, behind a .444 hitting percentage. A four-point Gamecock run that started with consecutive kills by sophomore middle blocker Frankie Vain tied the set, but the Rebels responded with a 10-2 run that put them to set point. Bruns posted a kill and an ace to extend the frame two more points, but a service error ended it. Vain had five kills on six swings in the frame for the Gamecocks, while Morgan posted seven kills without an error in the set.
South Carolina came back with a dominating performance in the second set, taking it, 25-17. The Gamecocks hit .607 in the frame, making only one attacking error in the set. Tied at 11-11, the Gamecocks’ five-point stand broke it open, with the duo of Howley and Stenlund posting two of their blocks together in the sequence. ThÃƒÂ©venin put the final attack down the block to end the frame. ThÃƒÂ©venin had seven of the Gamecock kills, while Howley was perfect on her four swings. The Gamecocks also posted four blocks in the set, with Stenlund assisting on each one.
The Gamecocks served their way to a 25-15 third-set win. South Carolina landed four aces in the frame, one each from ThÃƒÂ©venin, sophomore libero Paige Wheeler, Howley and sophomore Lindsey Craft, the most in seven matches for the team. A 9-7 Gamecock lead turned into a 23-10 advantage mostly due to a seven-point skein by South Carolina. Stenlund had a kill, a solo block and a block assist in the string. Ole Miss fought off four set points by the Gamecocks before ThÃƒÂ©venin ended the frame with her back-row kill that went down the block. South Carolina hit .423 in the third, led by ThÃƒÂ©venin’s five kills on eight swings without an error.
In a fourth set that was never separated by more than three points, the Gamecocks got a 25-22 win to clinch the match. Ole Miss held a 12-9 advantage at one point, but the Gamecocks fought back to tie it at 13-13 after taking four of five points, two of those coming on Howley kills. The Gamecocks’ three-point run gave them a 17-15 lead, but Ole Miss fought back to take a 20-19 advantage. South Carolina responded with a four-point run to make it 23-22, with Thomas getting two kills to end the stretch. The Rebels got within one at 23-22, but Howley’s slide attack and Thomas’s cross both found the floor and gave the Gamecocks a 25-22 set-four win. Howley tallied five kills in the final frame to lead the Gamecocks.
South Carolina hit .394 in the contest and won the kills, assists and digs battle. The teams tied with six blocks and six aces each. South Carolina picked up its first win of the year when losing the first set.
The Gamecocks host nationally-ranked Florida on Wednesday night at 8 p.m., with ESPNU providing a national broadcast of the contest.