Oct. 26, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team used its best offensive effort of the season in conference play on Sunday to knock off defending SEC champion Missouri by the scores of 18-25, 25-19, 25-23 and 25-17 at the Carolina Volleyball Center.
The Gamecocks hit .358 for the match, including a percentage of .467 in the second set and .545 in the fourth set, to claim their first win over a defending SEC champion since defeating No. 6 Florida on Sept. 17, 2006.
With the win, the Gamecocks improve to 15-7 on the season and 5-4 in SEC play. The Tigers drop to 13-11 overall and 4-5 in the conference. The win is South Carolina’s first over Missouri in four all-time meetings.
Carolina also finished the afternoon with the advantage in kills (60-55) and digs (50-43), while Missouri out-blocked the Gamecocks 12-5 and outhit them with a percentage of .370. Both teams finished the match with seven service aces.
After losing the first set, the Gamecocks bounced back in strong fashion in the second set, hitting .467. Sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams had seven kills with no attack errors on eight swings to lead Carolina to the 25-19 win.
The teams then played through nine ties and two lead changes in the third set. With the frame tied at 23-23, the Gamecocks took a 24-23 lead on a Missouri service error. Atoa-Williams then finished it off with a kill off a set from Kellie McNeil to give the Gamecocks a 25-23 win.
In the fourth set with Missouri leading 10-9, Kellie McNeil went back to serve and led the Gamecocks on a 7-0 run to take control of the set with a 16-10 lead, including a pair of service aces. Missouri was unable to pull closer than five points the rest of the way.
Atoa-Williams matched her career-high with 18 kills and hit a career-best .515 with just one attack error on 33 swings to lead Carolina. Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil pitched in 15 kills while hitting .387, which is her best hitting percentage in SEC play this season. Kellie McNeil distributed 33 assists to go along with nine digs, four kills, three service aces and a block, while freshman setter Allie Monserez finished with 16 assists and nine digs. Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier had nine kills and two blocks. Sophomore middle Katlyn McDaniel finished with a career-high nine kills while hitting a career-best .643 and two blocks. Senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen finished with a team-high 10 digs, and junior right side Sarah Blomgren added five kills, four digs and a block.
Sophomore outside hitter Carly Kan paced Missouri with 16 kills while hitting .424. Junior Regan Peltier and freshman Kasey Reuter each finished with 11 kills for the Tigers, while senior middle blocker Whitney Little added eight kills and six blocks. Sophomore setter Loxley Keala dished out 27 assists, and freshman setter Ali Kreklow added 22 assists and seven digs. Libero Sarah Meister collected a match-high 14 digs in the loss.
With Missouri leading the fourth set 10-9, Kellie McNeil served the Gamecocks to a 7-0 run, including a pair of aces, to give Carolina control of the set on its way clinching the match with a 25-17 win.
The Gamecocks hit .358 on the afternoon, their best offensive outing in SEC play. Atoa-Williams led the way, matching a career high with 18 kills and hitting a career-best .515 with just one attack error on 33 attempts.
â€¢ The win is South Carolina’s first over a defending SEC champion since defeating No. 6 Florida on Sept. 17, 2006.
â€¢ The win is the Gamecocks’ first over Missouri in four all-time meetings. Carolina had never won a set against the Tigers until claiming the second set on Sunday.
â€¢ Atoa-Williams matched a career-high with 18 kills while hitting a career-best .515 with one attack error on 33 swings.
â€¢ Taylr McNeil recorded 15 kills while hitting .387, which is her best hitting percentage in SEC play.
â€¢ The Gamecocks recorded seven service aces on the afternoon, their most in SEC play.
â€¢ Carolina hit .358 on the afternoon, which is its best hitting percentage in SEC play this season.
â€¢ McDaniel had career highs in kills (9) and hitting percentage (.643).
South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson
“This was such a huge win for us. Coming back from having a four-game losing skid and having a bunch of injuries right before this weekend and having our kids still gut it out, I couldn’t be more proud of how brave they were and just the courage that they showed. The way they adjusted and played together as a team made this a highlight of my four years here so far, just them working through the adversity that they had to work through and beat a really solid team that hit .370 for the match.”
Tweet of the Match
Way to go @GamecockVolley ! Thanks for giving us something great to watch before we play A and M. Congrats on the W today v Missouri.
— Shelley&Jamie Smith (@SoccerSmithsSC) October 26, 2014
The Gamecocks will be on the road next weekend as they will play at LSU on Friday (8 p.m.) and at Ole Miss on Sunday (2 p.m.).