Oct. 5, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. — The South Carolina volleyball team jumped out to a 2-0 lead and had to hold off Auburn for a five-set victory on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Tigers by the scores of 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 22-25 and 15-10 at Auburn Arena.
With the win, the Gamecocks improve to 13-3 on the season and 3-1 in SEC play. It’s the first time Carolina has won back-to-back SEC road matches since winning three straight in 2008. Auburn falls to 9-8 overall and 1-3 in league play.
The Gamecocks had control of the match in the first two sets as they never trailed in the first set and only trailed early in the second set before taking a 7-6 lead on an Auburn attack error. The Gamecocks went on to win the set 25-23 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Auburn scrapped back to take the next two sets to tie the match at 2-2, outhitting the Gamecocks .275-.171 and .293-.156.
However, the Gamecocks shut the Tigers down in the fifth set, holding Auburn to a -.045 hitting percentage and recording four of their 11 blocks. Carolina jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the set and didn’t allow Auburn to get closer than three points the rest of the way.
Sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams paced the Gamecocks with her seventh double-double of the season, matching her career high with 18 kills and recording 12 digs. Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier added 11 kills and had a match-high six blocks, while freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil and sophomore middle Jacqy Angermiller finished with nine and seven kills, respectively. Junior setter Kellie McNeil distributed a season-high 44 assists and added nine digs, five kills and four blocks. Senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen finished with a match-high 20 digs.
Four Tigers finished in double figures in kills, as Emily Klitzke led the way with 18. Courtney Crable (15), Kristel Moor (14) and Stephanie Campbell (13) also reached double figures. Setter Alexa Filley dished out 63 assists and had 12 digs, five blocks and four kills, while Alyssa Ivey finished with 13 digs.
As a team, the Gamecocks had an 11-8 advantage in blocks, while Auburn held the edge in hitting (.221-.211), kills (73-56) and digs (61-60).
After Auburn gained momentum by winning the third and fourth sets, Carolina opened the fifth set on a 5-0 run that the Tigers could not recover from. The Gamecocks didn’t allow Auburn to pull closer than three points the rest of the way.
The Gamecocks recorded four of their 11 blocks in the fifth set on their way to securing the win.
â€¢ The Gamecocks have won consecutive SEC road matches for the first time since winning three straight in 2008 at Arkansas (9/28), at Mississippi State (10/3) and at Alabama (10/5).
â€¢ The win is head coach Scott Swanson’s 57th at South Carolina, moving him to fourth on the school’s all-time wins list.
â€¢ The win is South Carolina’s first at Auburn since defeating the Tigers 3-1 on Oct. 19, 2008.
â€¢ Atoa-Williams matched her career high with 18 kills and recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 12 digs.
South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson
“We played really well in the first two sets. I felt like in game three we played with a little bit of play not to lose mentality. Credit to our kids. They bounced back in game five and had some timely blocking and some really strategic serving. We did what it took to get a nice lead up 8-2 at the switch. I’m so proud of how we hung in there. We are very young at a lot of positions, and I feel like we did what it took today. That’s our motto, by any means. We did that today. Awesome job by our kids.”
Tweet of the Match
– Spurs & Feathers (@SpursFeathers) October 5, 2014
The Gamecocks will remain on the road as they are slated to play at Alabama next Sunday. First serve is set for 4 p.m. ET, and the match will be televised on the SEC Network.