Aug 31, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team continued its hot start to the season as it swept High Point on Saturday afternoon by the scores of 25-18, 25-17 and 25-21 in front of a crowd of 1,026 at the Volleyball Competition Facility to claim its third-straight Gamecock Invitational title.
The Gamecocks, who moved to 3-0 on the season, handed High Point (2-1) its first loss by holding the Panthers to a .095 hitting percentage and spreading the ball around offensively, as five South Carolina players finished the match with five or more kills.
“I like our potential a lot,” South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson said. “I think we still have a lot of work to do, but I think we are efficient, which is really important in our gym. We serve tough but we don’t miss a lot. We swing away and don’t make a lot of errors. We are in the mode of letting the other team hurt themselves and not hurting ourselves. I think that’s why we are hitting at a high percentage and are keeping other teams at a low percentage. I’m excited that we are buying into that.”
Senior outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin was named tournament MVP after finishing the match with seven kills, five assists and four digs. She finished the tournament with 39 kills. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, had an excellent all-around performance. She recorded eight kills on 10 attacks by successfully dumping the ball at the net and also tallied 25 assists and three block assists. Freshman Dessaa Legros continued her solid play as she finished with eight kills, while sophomores Sarah Blomgren and Darian Dozier added seven and five kills, respectively. Dozier also had a huge night blocking, finishing with eight block assists. Junior Michaela Christiaansen recorded a team-high 10 digs.
Junior outside hitter Kristin Heldt led the way for High Point, producing 12 kills and 10 digs, while senior setter Maddie Simpson dished out 19 assists.
Blomgren set the tone from the start for the Gamecocks in the first set as she delivered a kill to give her team a lead it would not relinquish. South Carolina built a 12-6 lead before High Point went on a 4-1 run to cut its deficit to three points. But the Gamecocks answered with a 10-3 run to push its lead to double digits at 23-13. The Panthers were unable to get closer than six points the rest of the way, as Legros finished off the set with a kill to give the Gamecocks a 25-18 win. Legros led the attack in opening frame with five kills.
South Carolina showed no signs of slowing down in the second set as it built 13-5 lead early, including a pair of kills by ThÃƒÂ©venin. The Gamecocks went on to extend their lead to double figures for the second-straight set, as McNeil set Blomgren up for a kill to give South Carolina a 20-10 advantage. Dozier tallied the final point of the set as she threw down an overpass for a kill to give the Gamecocks a 25-17 win.
The third set went back and forth, with eight ties and five lead changes. With South Carolina leading 21-18, High Point pulled to within one after a kill by Chelsea Davis and an attack error on the Gamecocks. However, the Gamecocks closed out the frame on a 4-1 run to complete the sweep.
South Carolina returns to action next weekend in the Big Orange Bash hosted by rival Clemson in Clemson, S.C. The Gamecocks will take on the Tigers on Friday at 7 p.m. and will face Furman (12 p.m.) and Winthrop (4 p.m.) on Saturday.