Oct. 11, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Gamecock volleyball team played one of its best matches of the season Sunday afternoon, but were unable to hold off Texas A&M and dropped a 3-2 decision (27-29, 25-23, 22-25, 25-12, 15-4). Dessaa Legros led Carolina (7-12, 0-6 SEC) with 20 kills, while the Aggies (10-6, 3-2 SEC) had 23 kills from Jazzmin Babers.
1st Set: The match had a flair for the dramatics from the very first set. Carolina busted out to a 12-5 lead to begin, behind a balanced attack of Legros, Sarah Blomgren and Koko Atoa-Williams. The lead would expand all the way up to 17-8 before Texas A&M made its comeback run.
Facing the nine-point deficit, the Aggies reeled off an 11-4 run to trail just 21-19. It would come all the way back and tie the set at 24-all after a kill from Ashlie Reasor. They would ultimately serve for set point, holding a 27-26 lead on Carolina, but Jacqy Angermiller kept the team alive with a kill. Megan Kirkland would get an ace to set up set point, then Dessaa Legros put up a solo block to clinch the 29-27 win.
2nd Set: The second set would be even tighter, with Texas A&M earning the early advantage. The visitors would hold a 16-12 lead, but the duo of Legros and Angermiller combined for four kills in a run that would flip the score over to a 21-20 Carolina lead.
A block from Darian Dozier and Blomgren would make it 22-20, but the Aggies used a trio of kills from Reasor to out-score the Gamecocks 5-1 down the stretch for the 25-23 final score and a 1-1 match.
3rd Set: A motivated home side would emerge from the halftime break and used tough service from Dozier to take an early lead. The senior would start her service with the team trailing 4-3, but when she was finished it would be a 7-0 run and a 10-4 lead. The lead would grow to eight, 16-8, after another Kirkland ace, and the Aggies burned their second timeout of the set.
Texas A&M would make a late rally, going 8-0 to take a 20-11 Carolina advantage down to just 20-19. A kill from Blomgren broke the run, and the visitors would get no closer than two points the rest of the way in a 25-22 win for the Gamecocks.
4th Set: Behind the serve of Aubrey Ezell, the Garnet and Black took a 5-1 lead in the fourth set, looking to clinch the match. A 10-2 run by the Aggies swung the score back to their advantage and they would not look back. Carolina was unable to sustain the runs it needed to break A&M’s momentum and the match would go to a fifth set after a 25-21 decision
5th Set: Net defense would make all the difference in the final set. The Aggies forced an early timeout after earning a 5-1 lead, and never let Carolina get close than three points the rest of the way. To seal the win, they would record three blocks over the final seven plays of the set in the 15-4 win.
The team will have an early week matchup at Georgia, traveling south for a Wednesday night match in Athens. The meeting will air on the SEC Network, with both teams in search of their first conference win. Then on Sunday, the Gamecocks head to Tennessee for a 1:30 first serve in Knoxville.
- This is the first time since Oct. 19 of last season that the team was up 2-1 in a loss. That coincidentally came against Texas A&M as well.
- Aubrey Ezell went for 50 assists, her second match in the last four to reach the mark.
- Ezell also had 11 digs, giving her 12 double-doubles this season. She becomes the first Gamecock since Taylor Bruns in 2011 to have 12 or more in a single season.
- Dessaa Legros hit 20 kills on the day, her fourth 20-kill game of the season. If you add up her total from those four matches (81), it is 25 more than she had over 18 matches as a sophomore.
- Aside from offering the team’s toughest serve of the day, Megan Kirkland had 21 digs as libero. It was her second 20-dig game of 2015, in her first start at libero since Sept. 11.
Quotable: Head Coach Scott Swanson
“We had a much different mentality for the first half of the match, I felt like we were allowing ourselves to be as good as we’re capable of being. We did not have that same mentality starting in the middle of about set four. We gave up a six-point run, one server that wasn’t serving that tough and we just couldn’t get the ball to Aubrey and they got the momentum back. The mind is a very powerful thing — it was working wonders for us because our minds were in the right place through the first two sets and part of the third set, and it did the opposite in the last two and a half. I’m very proud of a lot of things we did today and a lot of players that stepped up, but we still have a lot of work to do on the confidence side of things.”
Tweet of the Match