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Oct. 24, 2014

Final Stats | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

Coach Swanson

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team held off Mississippi State on Friday to claim a 3-1 win by the scores of 25-22, 25-20, 22-25 and 25-21 at the Carolina Volleyball Center.

The Gamecocks outhit the Bulldogs .274-.190 on their way to improving to 14-7 on the season and 4-4 in the SEC. It was Carolina’s best hitting percentage in SEC play this season. The Bulldogs fall to 6-18 overall and 1-8 in the conference.

Carolina also had a stellar performance defensively, out-blocking the Bulldogs 15-7 and holding a 71-61 advantage in digs.

The Gamecocks built a 2-0 lead with wins in the first two sets, but Mississippi State claimed the third set 25-22, holding the lead the entire set. The Bulldogs led 12-9 midway through the fourth set, but Carolina used a 6-1 run to take a 15-13 lead capped by a kill from middle blocker Darian Dozier. The teams then battled through five ties before the Gamecocks took the lead for good at 21-20 on a kill by sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams. Carolina then outscored Mississippi State 4-1 to clinch the match.

Junior right side Sarah Blomgren paced the Gamecocks’ attack with a career-high 17 kills while hitting a career-best .538 with just three attack errors. Blomgren also had three blocks on the night. Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil added a double-double with 16 kills and 12 digs, while junior setter Kellie McNeil filled the stat sheet with a career-high 14 kills, 37 assists, six digs and seven blocks. Atoa-Williams finished with eight kills and 11 digs, and Dozier had eight kills and seven blocks. Freshman setter Allie Monserez added 19 assists and eight digs, while senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen finished with a career-high 27 digs and seven assists.

Junior right side Alex Warren led Mississippi State with 18 kills, while Chelsea Duhs pitched in 12 kills. Libero Payton Harris tallied 20 digs, while setter Shelby Anderton had a double-double with 43 assists and 12 digs.

Match Changer
Blomgren set career-highs in kills (17) and hitting percentage (.538) to lead the Gamecock offense, recording just three attack errors on 26 swings.

Key Stat
The Gamecocks posted their best hitting percentage of SEC play (.274) and out-blocked the Bulldogs 15-7, which matches their season best in blocks in SEC play.

• Blomgren finished with a career-high in kills (17) and hitting percentage (.538).
• Christiaansen tallied a career-high 27 digs.
• Kellie McNeil finished with a career-high 14 kills to go along with 37 assists, six digs and seven blocks.
• The double-double was the fifth of the season for Kellie McNeil, while Taylr McNeil recorded her fourth double-double of the year with 16 kills and 12 digs.
• The Gamecocks’ hitting percentage of .274 is their best in SEC play.
• Carolina’s 15 blocks matches a season-high in SEC play.
• The Gamecocks are 11-0 on the season when outhitting their opponent and 12-3 when out-blocking their opponent.

South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson

“Mississippi State is much improved from the first time we played them. Their outsides were on fire against us, and they were playing good defense. I told my team that I’m really glad we had to fight to win that because we’ve been trying to fight through some confidence issues. We held in there and stayed mentally tough enough to play well most of the time and finish strong. I thought it was a great team effort by our squad.”

Tweet of the Match

Up Next
The Gamecocks will wrap up the weekend at home against Missouri on Sunday. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Carolina Volleyball Center. The match will be streamed live on SEC Network+ via WatchESPN.