Aug. 27, 2016
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina volleyball team secured the College of Charleston Invitational title Saturday afternoon, after it swept Binghamton (0-2) 25-13, 28-26, 25-20 to end the weekend 3-0. Mikayla Shields was named tournament MVP after recording 33 kills over the three matches, and Koko Atoa-Williams and Aubrey Ezell made the All-Tournament team.
1st Set: South Carolina led wire-to-wire to take the opening set in convincing fashion. The offense churned out a .429 hitting percentage with just one attack error, and Atoa-Williams would be effective as an attacker (three kills) and defender (six digs) to spark the team. Shields added five kills on just eight swings and Joely Cabrera punched through two service aces.
2nd Set: The coaching staff tested the team’s depth in the second set, rolling out a rotation that featured almost entirely freshmen and sophomores. Despite that, the offense hummed along with a .314 hitting percentage in the set. Binghamton fought tough despite Carolina building an early 15-9 lead, eventually taking a 21-20 lead and forcing a Gamecock timeout. Binghamton had two set points, but kills from Shields and Claire Edwards tied the set up at 24-all. The Bearcats had another set point at 26-25, but another kill from Shields and a block by Atoa-Williams and Alicia Starr sealed the 28-26 win.
3rd Set: The combination of Shields and Atoa-Williams guided the offense again in the final set, and the Gamecocks went without a single attack error. Shields found equal success on defense in the set, as she helped swing momentum early with three blocks in the first 26 total points. Emma Lock served the team to a critical 5-0 run at the midway point of the set, turning a 12-all tie into a more comfortable 17-12 advantage. The Bearcats got back within one, 20-19, but never threatened again as a kill from Shields fittingly closed out the match.
Stat of the Match
For as good as the offense was for South Carolina, the advantage in blocks was just as important. The Gamecocks finished with 11 blocks while Binghamton did not block a ball for the entire match.
With the first weekend of the season in the books, the Gamecocks turn their attention to Friday night, when they host Clemson at 7 p.m. in the 2016 home opener.
- Courtney McKeag recorded her first career kill. She missed the first two seasons of her career with the team due to preseason injuries.
- Aubrey Ezell finished the match with 22 assists and 10 digs. It was her first double-double of the season, but the 19th of her career. She passed Shani Abshier (1994-97) and moved into 17th place in program history for the category.
- Mikayla Shields’ .522 hitting percentage for the match marks the first time since Oct. 4, 2015 that a Gamecock hit over .500 in a match with at least 10 kills.
Tweet of the Match