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Nov. 11, 2012

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

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Despite 20 digs from junior libero Paige Wheeler, South Carolina dropped a three-set decision to Tennessee (19-6, 12-4 SEC), as the Lady Vols won 27-25, 25-16, 25-18, on Sunday afternoon at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

Kelsey Robinson led Tennessee with 17 kills and 10 digs. DeeDee Harrison added 12 kills on a .500 hitting percentage and four blocks. Olivia Okoro had 10 kills. Mary Pollmiller joined Robinson with a double-double, making 34 assists and to go with 11 digs. Ellen Mullins added 18 digs.

Junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin had 10 kills to top the Gamecocks (16-13, 4-13 SEC), and freshman middle blocker Darian Dozier had two block assists to top the team. Senior setter Taylor Bruns had five kills, 25 assists and eight digs, the latter matched as well by junior defensive specialist Lindsey Craft.

South Carolina pushed Tennessee beyond the 25-point mark in the first set before the Lady Vols claimed it, 27-25. Down by five on three occasions early, the Gamecocks fought back, tying it at 13-13 as freshman outside hitter Jenna Allen capped a three-point run with a kill. The teams never got separated by more than two the rest of the set. The Gamecocks used a two-point swing to get to set point first at 24-22 after kills by Thévenin and sophomore outside hitter Bethanie Thomas, but the Lady Vols responded with a three-point skein to take the advantage away at 25-24. A service error gave South Carolina life, but an attack error and an Okoro kill clinched things for the Lady Vols. Thomas had six kills and six digs in the first set, while Robinson posted six kills as well for Tennessee.

The Lady Vols took the second set 25-16 behind very hot hitting. Tennessee posted a .485 hitting percentage in the second set, with all five hitters tallying multiple kills. Harrison and Robinson both had five in the frame, while Mullins posted eight digs. The Gamecocks made a late bid, getting a three-point stand after a Bruns kill and two from Thévenin, but Tennessee closed it out at 25-16 with three-straight kills, with Harrison landing the clincher. Thévenin had five kills without an error for South Carolina in the second.

The Gamecocks once again made a late stand in the third, but Tennessee prevailed 25-18. The Lady Vols ran out to a 14-6 lead, posting both a four- and five-point run. A five-point South Carolina stand made it 22-17, but Tennessee closed out the contest four points later, Robinson landing the final kill. She had six in the final set to go with seven digs. Five Lady Vol blocks helped hold the Gamecocks to a -.067 hitting percentage. Wheeler posted 14 of her digs in the final stanza, while Craft added five, as South Carolina kept Tennessee’s offense to a .140 hitting percentage in the frame.

South Carolina tied Tennessee in both aces (1) and digs (60). The Lady Vols held advantages in the rest of the stats.

The Gamecocks hit the road for the final time in 2012 next weekend, heading to matches at Alabama and Florida. Friday’s contest against the Crimson Tide begins at 8 p.m. EST in Foster Auditorium.