Sept. 5, 2015
GREENVILLE, S.C. – After dropping the first two sets to Winthrop on Saturday, the South Carolina volleyball team regrouped to take the next three sets to claim a 3-2 victory by the scores of 24-26, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20 and 15-12 at Alley Gym.
With the comeback win, the Gamecocks improve to 4-1 on the season. Winthrop falls to 0-6.
Carolina remained alive by holding the Eagles off in the third set. With the set tied at 14-14, the Gamecocks outscored Winthrop 11-7 down the stretch to make it a 2-1 match.
The Gamecocks controlled most of the fourth set on their way to building an 18-13 lead, but Winthrop went on a 4-1 run to pull to within 19-17. However, Carolina outscored the Eagles 6-3 to win the set and tie the match, including block assists by Darian Dozier and Koko Atoa-Williams, Dozier and Sarah Blomgren and Jacqy Angermiller and Blomgren.
The Eagles held an 11-8 advantage in the fifth set, but Carolina once again scrapped back. A kill by junior outside hitter Dessaa Legros and back-to-back kills by Dozier tied the frame at 11-11. Winthrop regained the lead on a kill by Lourdes Rosario, but the Gamecocks scored the next four points to complete the comeback win, including a pair of blocks by Dozier and Blomgren.
As a team the Gamecocks finished the afternoon with the advantage in kills (62-59), hitting percentage (.206-.159), digs (73-69) and blocks (16-12).
Legros came up just shy of her second-straight double-double for the Gamecocks with 14 kills and nine digs. Dozier recorded 14 kills while hitting .481 with just one attack error on 27 swings. She also contributed four blocks. Atoa-Williams added 12 kills, five digs and three blocks, while Blomgren finished with eight kills and a career-high six blocks. Angermiller pitched in seven kills and seven blocks, and Ezell turned in her fourth double-double of the season with 48 assists, 13 digs, four kills and three blocks. Junior Megan Kirkland also had a career day as she collected a career-high 23 digs.
Rosario paced Clemson with 15 kills, 11 digs and six blocks, while Annelies Dokter and Emma Weakland finished with 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Dokter also tallied 10 digs. Freshman setter Madilyn McCarty distrubted 50 assists, and libero Maria Volstad had 25 digs.
With the Gamecocks trailing 11-8 in the fifth set, a kill by Legros sparked a 7-1 run to lift Carolina to the victory. Blomgren and Dozier teamed up for blocks on two of the final three points, including the match-winning point.
After recording only three blocks as a team in the first two sets combined, Carolina tallied 13 during the next three, including four in the fifth set.
– The win marks just the second time the Gamecocks have lost the first two sets and came back to win since rallying from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Alabama in Columbia on Nov. 13, 2005. Carolina also accomplished the feat last season against Ole Miss on Sept. 26.
– Carolina finished the match with a season-high 16 blocks, its most since recording 17 against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 19, 2014.
– Blomgren contributed a career-high six blocks.
– Kirkland tallied a career-high 23 digs.
– Carolina held Winthrop to .000, .148 and .000 hitting percentages during the final three sets.
Tweet of the Match
– Scott Swanson (@GamecockVBcoach) September 5, 2015
The Gamecocks will return to action tonight at 7 against tournament host Furman.