Aug. 30, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team closed out the weekend in strong fashion, defeating Georgia Tech in four sets by the scores of 25-22, 25-13, 18-25 and 25-22 to win its fourth-straight Gamecock Invitational in front of 1,647 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
The Gamecocks hit a season-best .467 in the second set to cruise past Georgia Tech and build a 2-0 lead. After dropping the third set, Carolina trailed 20-18 in the fourth set before going on a 7-2 run to secure the win.
Sophomore outside hitter KoKo Atoa-Williams earned Tournament MVP honors after recording a career-high 18 kills while hitting .306 and seven digs to lead the Gamecocks (3-0). Senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen also earned a spot on the All-Tournament team after collecting 17 digs and dishing out five assists against the Yellow Jackets (2-1).
Georgia Tech out-hit the Gamecocks .269-.258 and held the advantage in kills (57), assists (55-49) and blocks (13-12), while Carolina finished with more digs (60-53) and service aces (6-0).
Junior right side Sarah Blomgren came up big for the Gamecocks as well, recording 13 kills while hitting .385 and two blocks. Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil chipped in nine kills, nine digs, four assists and five blocks, while junior setter Kellie McNeil contributed seven kills on nine attacks, a match-high 36 assists and four blocks. Junior middle blocker Elizabeth Johnbull led the way at the net, recording a career-high seven blocks.
Sisters Teegan and Annika Van Gunst led Georgia Tech with 13 and 12 kills, respectively, while Courtney Felinski also had 12 kills. Setters Rebecca Martin and Callie Bivings finished with 26 and 24 assists, respectively, for the Yellow Jackets, and libero Annika Olsen had a match-high 18 digs.
Sophomore outside hitter KoKo Atoa-Williams posted a career-high 18 kills while hitting .306, including six kills on seven attacks to help the Gamecocks cruise to a 25-13 win in set two to build a 2-0 lead.
South Carolina out-hit Georgia Tech .467-.069 in the second set on its way to a 25-13 win to build a two-set lead. The Gamecocks later held a .316-.245 hitting advantage in the fourth set and out-blocked Georgia Tech 4-2 to secure the victory.
â€¢ Atoa-Williams recorded a career-high 18 kills to earn Tournament MVP honors. She finished the tournament with a team-high 36 kills, averaging 3.27 per set.
â€¢ Johnbull set a career-high with seven blocks.
â€¢ Blomgren hit .308 for the tournament, recording 23 kills.
â€¢ The Gamecocks are now 20-0 in home tournaments under head coach Scott Swanson. Carolina has won four-straight Gamecock Invitationals.
â€¢ The crowd of 1,647 is the third largest in VCF history. Carolina averaged 1,629 fans per match in three matches during the tournament.
Tweet of the Match
— rick james. (@_BohJr) August 31, 2014
South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson
“I think we were on a bit of a roller coaster for a while. It may have been first weekend jitters or just getting used to each other, but when things mattered we played at a really high level. We stepped it up ever match as the competition got tougher, especially against Georgia Tech. We started blocking balls and playing better defense and out passing improved. We were definitely more efficient hitting than we were in the last two matches. I felt like we improved, and that’s what every coach wants.”
The Gamecocks return to action next weekend at the Winthrop Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C. Carolina is slated to play rival Clemson on Friday (4 p.m.) and Furman (10 a.m.) and Winthrop (7 p.m.) on Saturday.