Oct. 3, 2014
STARKVILLE, Miss. — In its first road contest of SEC play, the South Carolina volleyball team swept Mississippi State by the scores of 25-21, 25-18 and 25-14 on Friday night at the Newell-Grissom Building.
With the win, the Gamecocks improve to 12-3 on the season and 2-1 in SEC play. The Bulldogs drop to 5-13 overall and 0-3 in the conference.
Carolina held the edge in every statistical category, including hitting percentage (.239-.128), kills (38-32), assists (38-30), digs (59-53) and blocks (9-5).
Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil paced the Gamecock offense with a match-high 15 kills and added six digs and three blocks. Sophomores Jacqy Angermiller and Katlyn McDaniel pitched in six kills apiece and had four and three blocks, respectively, while junior middle Darian Dozier had four kills and four blocks. Sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams finished with four kills and a career-high 17 digs. Junior setter Kellie McNeil came up just shy of a double-double with 30 assists and eight digs. Senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen and sophomore defensive specialist Megan Kirkland had 13 and 11 digs, respectively.
Sophomore middle blocker Chelsea Duhs tallied 14 kills to lead Mississippi State, while junior middle blocker Alex Warren finished with seven kills and three blocks. Setter Shelby Anderton distributed 28 assists and had five digs, while libero Payton Harris finished with a match-high 25 digs.
In the first set, Mississippi State cut Carolina’s lead to one point on three different occasions down the stretch with the last being 22-21 after a kill by Duhs. However, the Gamecocks scored the next three points, including a pair of blocks, to win 25-21.
The teams went back and forth early in the second set with five ties and three lead changes, as Carolina took the lead for good at 6-5 on a Mississippi State ball handling error. The Gamecocks pushed their lead to 17-10 and didn’t allow the Bulldogs to pull closer than four points the rest of the way.
Carolina played its most efficient set in the third frame, hitting .300 and jumping out to a 7-1 lead. The Gamecocks never trailed in the set and led by as many as 13 points on their way to a 25-14 win to close out the match.
The Gamecocks entered the weekend leading the SEC in opponent hitting percentage and they held the Bulldogs to a .128 hitting percentage on Friday. It’s the 10th time this season the Gamecocks have held an opponent to below a .150 hitting percentage.
Three Gamecocks finished in double figures in digs. Atoa-Williams tallied a career-high 17 digs, while Christiaansen and Kirkland had 13 and 11, respectively.
â€¢ The Gamecocks improve to 3-0 in true road matches this season.
â€¢ Carolina is now 10-0 when outhitting its opponents this season.
â€¢ Atoa-Williams recorded a career-high 17 digs.
â€¢ The Gamecocks held Mississippi State to a .128 hitting percentage, the 10th time this season Carolina has held an opponent to below .150.
â€¢ The win is the first sweep for the Gamecocks in SEC play since defeating Mississippi State 3-0 on Oct. 19, 2012.
â€¢ The win is head coach Scott Swanson’s 56th at South Carolina, moving him into a tie for fourth on the school’s all-time wins list with Ben Somera.
South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson
“I thought we had a slow start, which is not uncommon for us. I felt like we played a little tight, and then as we got more loosened up we started to execute a little bit better. I’m happy we won but I’m not happy with the way we play all the time. That’s just a product of the experience on the court. Our youth just needs to continue to get more seasoned. I think as we do that we will become more relaxed in these situations on the road. Overall it was good. We had a lot of good performances.”
Tweet of the Match
– Gamecock Sand VB (@GamecockSandVB) October 4, 2014
The Gamecocks will close out the weekend at Auburn on Sunday. First serve is set for 2:30 p.m. ET at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.