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Sept. 19, 2015

Final Stats

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Three hitters would reach double figures Saturday afternoon as South Carolina overcame an early deficit to defeat Charleston Southern, 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-20). Sarah Blomgren followed up a 15-kill night against East Carolina with 16 more Saturday to lead the match. Darian Dozier would also reach a season-best in the category with 15.

Heading into the final matches of the weekend for the Carolina Classic, South Carolina moves to 6-5 and Charleston Southern 3-11.

The Buccaneers withstood an early charge from Carolina to take the first set 25-23. After earning a 14-7 lead, the Gamecocks allowed the visiting side to rally back with an 11-3 run to take a lead it would never give back. The second set would be equally tight, with neither side able to take a lead greater than three points.

With the match tied up at 13 in the second, a quick run for the Gamecocks would prove to be the difference. A pair of kills from Dozier led a 5-0 run and an 18-13 advantage, and Charleston Southern would not get within two points the rest of the way.

An assertive home side came out of the halftime break to take the pivotal third set in convincing fashion. Carolina went out to a 15-8 lead before the first TV timeout, but a 4-1 run by the Bucs tightened things back up. Koko Atoa-Williams took over her serve with the Gamecocks up 17-12, and by the time CSU was able to get a side out the set was all but decided. She recorded an ace and saw kills from Dozier, Dessaa Legros and Aubrey Ezell to turn it into an easy 25-13 win and a 2-1 advantage in the match.

It would be the Bucs that came out strong in the fourth set, but Carolina worked its way back into the set. After trailing 3-1, the Gamecocks went into the TV timeout ahead 15-12. Elizabeth Johnbull pitched in with three kills in what would be the final set, supplementing a healthy dose of Blomgren, Dozier and Legros. That trio would combine for 43 of the team’s 59 total kills in the win.

Defensively, Joely Cabrera (22) and Atoa-Williams (15) finished with season highs in digs and the team finished with 13 total blocks.

Match Changer
The Gamecocks used an 8-0 run late in the third set to cruise to a 25-13 win in the second set and a 2-1 advantage in the match. In that run, Carolina converted five straight attacks into kills and got an ace from Koko Atoa-Williams.

Key Stat
The South Carolina defense held Charleston Southern to just a .054 hitting percentage for the match. It was the lowest percentage allowed all season, beating out the .080 recorded by N.C. Central on Aug. 29.

• Carolina is now 4-1 at home
• The Gamecocks improved to 27-1 in home tournament play during the Swanson era.
• Aubrey Ezell recorded her seventh double-double of the season after finishing with 48 assists and 16 digs. She also set a new career-best with five kills.
• The Gamecocks had consistent effort on the net for defense. Three different athletes had a solo block, and six had two or more block assists. Jacqy Angermiller and Elizabeth Johnbull led the way with four block assists each.
• Carolina is now 7-0 all-time against the Buccaneers, but yielded its first set ever in the series on Saturday.

Tweet of the Match

Up Next
The team closes out the Carolina Classic Saturday night against Wofford at 7 p.m. It sets up as the championship match, as the Terriers (7-6) have also swept their first two matches of the tournament.