Nov. 19, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The South Carolina volleyball team held off Tennessee for a win in five sets on Wednesday, winning by the scores of 25-22, 15-25, 25-19, 23-25 and 15-9 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The win snaps a five-match losing streak, as the Gamecocks improve to 16-12 on the season and 6-9 in the SEC. The victory guarantees Carolina just its third winning season since going 22-7 in 2002. Tennessee falls to 8-22 overall and 1-15 in the conference.
South Carolina looked to be on its way to breaking its streak of five-set matches as it led 20-17 in the fourth set. However, the Lady Vols closed out the set on a 7-3 run to force the Gamecocks to a fifth set for a fourth-straight match.
But the Gamecocks dominated the fifth set, hitting .450 with 11 kills and just two attack errors on 20 attempts. Sophomores Dessaa Legros and KoKo Atoa-Williams led the way with four and three kills, respectively. Carolina jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the set and never looked back on its way to a 15-9 win.
Atoa-Williams delivered her team-leading 10th double-double of the season to lead the way on Wednesday. She recorded 17 kills and a career-high 27 digs. Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier produced 15 kills while hitting .361 and two blocks. Junior right side Sarah Blomgren finished with nine kills and five digs. Sophomore middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller pitched in eight kills and two blocks, while Legros added five kills.
Freshman setter Allie Monserez contributed fifth double-double in the win, distributing 26 assists and tallying 10 digs. Junior setter Kellie McNeil added 20 assists, seven kills and seven digs, while senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen finished with her first career double-double with 22 digs and 10 assists.
Sophomore outside hitter Ashley Mariani paced Tennessee with 18 kills and 10 digs, while Kanisha Jimenez finished with 13 kills and 13 digs. Kendra Turner added 12 kills, and setter Lexi Dempsey finished with 27 assists and 12 digs. Megan Hatcher recorded a team-high 21 digs in the loss, and middle blocker Raina Hembry had six kills and six blocks.
The Gamecocks and Lady Vols both finished with 64 kills on the night. Carolina had the advantage in hitting (.225-.209) and digs (91-81), while Tennessee out-blocked the Gamecocks 8-5
The Gamecocks jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the fifth set on their way to sealing the match by hitting .450 for the set, recording 11 kills with just two attack errors on 20 attempts.
Atoa-Williams recorded her team-leading 10th double-double of the season, finishing with 17 kills and a career-high 27 digs.
â€¢ The victory guarantees a winning season for the Gamecocks for just the third time since going 22-7 in 2002.
â€¢ The Gamecocks have now won consecutive matches in Knoxville for the first time since winning consecutively 3-2 on Nov. 17, 2001 and 3-0 on Nov. 8, 2002.
â€¢ The win is also the 60th of head coach Scott Swanson’s career at South Carolina.
â€¢ Atoa-Williams led the way with her team-leading 10th double-double, recording 17 kills and a career-high 27 digs.
â€¢ The Gamecocks snapped a five-match losing streak.
South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson
“I’m very proud of our team for fighting through the adversity and that mental barrier that we’ve had in game five. We started off strong, and offensively we were very, very good in the fifth set. At the first timeout we were hitting .700, and that’s something we haven’t been doing in previous set fives. It was a really good mental effort. We probably shouldn’t have been in a game five, but we were and pulled it out, which is great.”
The Gamecocks will play at Georgia on Sunday. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Ga., and the match will be streamed live on the SEC Network+.