Nov. 20, 2016
AUBURN, ALA. – The Gamecock volleyball team lost in three sets at Auburn (15-14, 9-7 SEC) Sunday afternoon, 25-20, 27-25, 25-14. The Tiger offense hit .353 for the match, and held South Carolina (18-10, 6-10 SEC) to just a .186 percentage as a team. Mikayla Shields led the team with 12 kills in the loss.
1st Set: The Tigers took advantage of rocky ball control from Carolina, getting three kills on over-passes right off the bat to build a 6-1 lead and force the Gamecocks into an early timeout. They would look to Mikayla Shields to charge back, and the freshman would oblige, getting four kills in the team’s first nine points to get back within one, 12-11.
Auburn took its first timeout of the game with an 18-17 lead, following an ace from Megan Kirkland, then the home side ran off the next two points to take back momentum in the set. The Gamecocks could get no closer than two from then on, dropping the opening game 25-20.
2nd Set: It would be the Gamecocks who enjoyed the hot start in game two. A pair of early blocks staked Carolina to an 8-2 lead and forced Auburn into a timeout. The Tigers followed the same script as the first game, charging back to make it just 12-11 Carolina, and the Gamecocks took a timeout to regroup.
South Carolina was able to hold the lead until a 3-0 run for the home side tied the set up at 21-all. The Gamecocks’ offense struggled to score in-system, hitting just .170 for the game with Auburn enjoying a 20-10 advantage in kills. Errors helped Carolina get ahead early, but after the Tigers cleaned up their miscues they were able to take over late and secured the 27-25 win for the 2-0 lead.
3rd Set: The trend of big early runs carried into the third set, with Auburn going up 9-3 thanks to a pair of big blocks. The Tigers’ offense ensured that there would be no comeback for Carolina, as the home side hit .583 in the set compared to just .200 for the Gamecocks, and Auburn completed the sweep with a 25-14 decision.
Stat of the Match
Auburn entered the match as the SEC leader in digs, and the Tigers’ defense was in full effect Sunday. South Carolina finished with just 30 kills on 86 attempts, hitting .186 as a team. Auburn held a plus-17 advantage in digs and a plus-22 advantage in kills for the match.
- With her 12 kills Sunday, Mikayla Shields became the fourth freshman in the rally-scoring era (since 2001) to go over 300 kills in a single season.
- Shields now has double-digit kills in seven of the last nine matches for the Gamecocks.
- Auburn’s 52 kills are the second-most allowed by Carolina in a three-set match this season.
The final week of the regular season awaits the Gamecocks. The team has two matches sandwiched around Thanksgiving; the first is the team’s home finale on Wednesday night against Arkansas. First serve against the Razorbacks is 7 p.m. ET. Wrapping up the 2016 season will be a road trip to Oxford for a Black Friday showdown with Ole Miss. That match will also be a 7 p.m. first serve.