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March 19, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With wins over Louisiana-Monroe and Florida Atlantic, the South Carolina beach volleyball team improved to 8-3 on the season.

Carolina opened the day with a 5-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe and closed the day with a 3-2 victory over Florida Atlantic.

“Today was a battle,” said head coach Moritz Moritz. “The players had to work to earn everything. Both Louisiana-Monroe and Florida Atlantic are strong opponents and well coached, so to step up in those occasions is building positive momentum. Tomorrow doesn’t get any easier with the teams we are competing against. We expect to scrap for any and every opportunity to improve.”

All five of South Carolina’s victories against ULM came in straight sets. Jade Vitt and Delaney Wood got the Gamecocks on the board with a 21-14, 21-7 win over Catherine Griffith and Delaney Driver at No. 4. Erin Neuenfeldt and Katie McCormick followed with a 21-10, 21-11 victory over Bayleigh Hoffman and Tara Jenkins on court 5.

Julia Mannisto and Shannon Williams secured the match for the Gamecocks when they dropped Hope Pawlick and Taylor Zaeske 22-20, 21-13 at the top spot.

With a 3-0 lead for Carolina, Sarah Blomgren and Aubrey Ezell added another point for the Gamecocks when they defeated Hadley Swartz and Kori Simpson 21-17, 21-15 at No. 2, while Macie Tendrich and Katie Reilly finished the match with a 21-12, 21-15 victory at No. 3.

In the exhibition match, Lista Darby and Lauren Percy topped Becca Brown and Jennifer McClendon 21-17, 16-21, 18-16.

In the dual with FAU, the Gamecocks struck first with a 21-18, 21-18 win by Vitt and Wood on court 4 over Natalie Fraley and Nicole Grant, but the Owls responded with 23-21, 21-10 victory at No. 5 by Ashlan Cunningham and Julia Lewkowicz over Neuenfeldt and McCormick.

Florida Atlantic gained the lead when Delaney Clesen and Gabby Dischler edged Mannisto and Williams 21-18, 21-13 in the No. 1 spot, but Blomgren and Ezell evened the score at 2-2 when they defeated Heather Weiss and Brittany Pelliteri 21-18, 21-17 at No. 2.

Tendrich and Reilly earned their ninth win of the season when they dropped Andrea Galinis and Chelsey Tekavec 21-18, 21-16 on the No. 3 court to clinch the win for the Gamecocks.

In the exhibition match, Darby and Percy went to three sets but earned a 14-21, 21-13, 15-13 win over Jazmine Barker and Nicole Navarro.

South Carolina is back in action Sunday at 1 p.m. against North Florida and at 5 p.m. against Jacksonville State.

Dual Results
South Carolina 5, Louisiana-Monroe 0

1: Julia Mannisto/Shannon Williams (SC) def. Hope Pawlick/Taylor Zaeske (ULM) 22-20, 21-13
2: Sarah Blomgren/Aubrey Ezell (SC) def. Hadley Swartz/Kori Simpson (ULM) 21-17, 21-15
3: Macie Tendrich/Katie Reilly (SC) def. Kaitlyn Shearer/Claire Crossfield (ULM) 21-12, 21-15
4: Jade Vitt/Delaney Wood (SC) def. Delaney Driver/Catherine Griffith (ULM) 21-14, 21-7
5: Erin Neuenfeldt/Katie McCromick (SC) def. Bayleigh Hoffman/Tara Jenkins (ULM) 21-10, 21-11
Exh.: Litsa Darby/Lauren Percy (SC) def. Becca Brown/Jennifer McClendon (ULM) 21-17, 16-21, 18-16

South Carolina 3, Florida Atlantic 2
1: Delaney Clesen/Gabrielle Dischler (FAU) def. Julia Mannisto/Shannon Williams (SC) 21-18, 21-13
2: Sarah Blomgren/Aubrey Ezell (SC) def. Heather Weiss/Brittany Pelliteri (FAU) 21-18, 21-17
3: Macie Tendrich/Katie Reilly (SC) def. Andrea Galinis/Chelsey Tekavec (FAU) 21-18, 21-16
4: Jade Vitt/Delaney Wood (SC) def. Natalie Fraley/Nicole Grant (FAU) 21-18, 21-18
5: Ashlan Cunningham/Julia Lewkowciz (FAU) def. Erin Neuenfeldt/Katie McCormick (SC) 23-21, 21-10
Exh.: Litsa Darby/Lauren Percy (SC) def. Jazmine Barker/Nicole Navarro (FAU) 14-21, 21-13, 15-13