Nov. 22, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina volleyball team ended its 2015 home schedule Sunday afternoon, hosting Alabama (16-14, 10-6 SEC). The Gamecocks (12-17, 5-11 SEC) were led by Sarah Blomgren’s 14 kills and seven blocks from Jacqy Angermiller, but could not slow down `Bama’s dynamic duo in a 3-1 loss (27-25, 25-20, 17-25, 25-20).
1st Set: The Crimson Tide controlled the tempo early on in the opening set, building a 13-8 early on and forcing a Carolina timeout. The Gamecocks would chip away slowly but surely, eventually tying the game up at 17-all behind the serve of Joely Cabrera. The junior had a pair of aces that helped turn a 17-14 deficit into the team’s first lead of the day at 18-17.
The Gamecocks would lead 21-20 later in the set, but Alabama’s Krystal Rivers took control all by herself to put the visitor’s back up 23-21. A kill from Blomgren tied things up at 25, but a kill and a block from Kat Hutson in quick succession closed out the scoring.
2nd Set: Alabama would take a 2-0 halftime lead thanks to another solid set from Rivers. The redshirt junior totaled seven kills and five digs in the set, hitting .500. The Gamecocks led big early on, earning a 10-4 lead behind a pair of aces from Aubrey Ezell.
Behind the serve of Kryssi Daniels, Alabama clawed its way back to 16-all, and would take a 19-16 lead after her third ace of the game. Carolina would struggle in the serve game, committing three errors on serve and allowing Daniels’ three aces. The Tide out-hit the Gamecocks .310 to .129 to take the 2-0 lead to intermission.
3rd Set: The Gamecocks would lock in on offense to earn a big win in the third set, with a diverse attack that would feature four different players with three or more kills. Carolina hit .464 in the set, and on top of that it held Alabama to just .107 thanks in large part to six blocks.
The team would hold a comfortable lead for most of the final half of the set, taking a 15-10 lead at the media timeout and extending it out to 20-14 before the Crimson Tide would burn their final team timeout. Angermiller helped close out the set and extend the match, recording a pair of blocks in the final four total points.
4th Set: Needing to win again to extend the match, Carolina battled early on, but the service of Kat Hutson would provide a key run at the mid-point of the set that made all the difference for Alabama. Hutson took over serve with the Tide ahead 12-9, and her tough topspin jump serve would be good for a 4-0 burst that allowed the visitors to hold Carolina at an arm’s length down the stretch. Blomgren was 4-for-4 on her attacks in the set, but Rivers and Hutson combined for 10 to counter her.
Stat of the Match
The Gamecocks committed a season-high 14 service errors with five aces. On the receiving end, the Carolina defense gave up seven aces.
The 2015 season will come to a close this coming week, with the team hitting the road and heading west for two matches. First up is Arkansas on Wednesday at 8 p.m., then the season finale at Missouri at 7:30. Both matches will air on the SEC Network +.
- Now with the home season complete, the Gamecocks clinched their fifth-straight season with a winning record at home. The team finished the season 9-7 at the Carolina Volleyball Center, four coming in SEC play.
- Alabama has now won four straight in the series. The Gamecocks have not won at home in the series since 2011.
- Finishing with 40 total assists, freshman Aubrey Ezell passed Katelyn Panzau (2003) for sole possession of fourth place in the single-season assists record at Carolina.
- Sarah Blomgren now has five matches this season where she has double-digit kills and hit over .400. She finished with 14 on just 23 swings Sunday, her most accurate performance since hitting .545 at Mississippi State Oct. 4.
- In her last three matches played, junior Jacqy Angermiller is averaging 11.6 kills and four blocks per game.
Quotable: Head Coach Scott Swanson
“I thought we could’ve executed better today, our serving and passing wasn’t as good as it needed to be to beat a team that’s that physical. There were spurts where we played well, we were scrappy, and as always we fought, but in the end we just didn’t’ execute as well as we needed to.”