Aug. 29, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team opened its 2014 season in strong fashion, sweeping Gardner-Webb on Friday night by the scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-21 in the Gamecock Invitational in front of a capacity crowd of 1,711 at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
The Gamecocks (1-0) jumped out to a 19-9 lead in the first set on their way to cruising to a 25-15 win. Gardner-Webb (0-1) made things interesting in set two, leading 18-16. However, the Gamecocks outscored the Runnin’ Bulldogs 9-1 down the stretch. Carolina never trailed in the third set on its way to the season-opening win.
As a team, the Gamecocks out-hit Gardner-Webb .238-.144 and held the advantage in kills (39-34), digs (44-39) and blocks (10-3).
In her debut in Garnet and Black, freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil led the way with a match-high 16 kills while hitting .419 and just missed a double-double with nine digs. Junior right side Sarah Blomgren added six kills and five block assists, while sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams chipped in six kills.
Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier and sophomore middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller contributed five blocks apiece, while junior setter Kellie McNeil dished out 24 assists and had four kills, four digs and three blocks. Senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen collected a team-high 13 digs.
Outside hitter Brianna Starr and middle blocker Tyler Cockrell led Gardner-Webb with nine kills each. Runnin’ Bulldog setter Heather Feldman finished with 28 assists, while libero Anna Pashkova had 14 digs.
Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil came up just shy of a double-double, producing a match-high 16 kills while hitting .419 and adding nine digs. She delivered five kills and four digs to help lead Carolina to a 25-15 win in the first set.
â€¢ Taylr McNeil’s 16 kills were a match-high. She hit .419 and added nine digs.
â€¢ The Gamecocks improve to 18-0 in home tournaments under head coach Scott Swanson.
â€¢ Carolina is now 11-0 when opening the season at home since joining the SEC in 1991 and 4-0 in season openers during the Swanson era.
â€¢ The crowd of 1,711 is the second largest crowd in Volleyball Competition Facility history. The largest is 1,793, which came against Florida on Sept. 21, 2001.
Tweet of the Game
— Andy Assaley (@a_assaley) August 29, 2014
South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson
“I thought we scrapped and played really hard. In that first set, I thought we started off passing well and were attacking at a high level. We kind of had them on the run. They started figuring out our serves. Hats off to Gardner-Webb. They play a really fast offense. It was really tough to defend them tonight. They got us out of system and unable to run a lot of transition offense back at them. Some of the games got a little tight at times because of that. I thought our team passed extremely well. We had some really good performances.”
The Gamecocks will play two matches in the Gamecock Invitational on Saturday. Carolina is slated to play Jacksonville at 1 p.m. and Georgia Tech at 7 at the Volleyball Competition Facility.