Nov. 23, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina volleyball team ended its 2016 home season Wednesday night at the Carolina Volleyball Center. The Gamecocks dropped a four-set match to Arkansas (9-20, 7-10 SEC) to move back to 18-11, 6-11 in the SEC for the season. Mikayla Shields led the team with 18 kills and 10 digs, and Claire Edwards added five blocks and a pair of aces to lead the Gamecocks.
1st Set: South Carolina let a big early lead slip away in the opening game, allowing Arkansas to take the 1-0 lead in the match, 25-23. The Gamecocks ran out to a 10-3 lead, but the Razorbacks chipped away as the set wore on. Both teams struggled offensively, combining for just 25 kills and 17 attacking errors, but while the Razorbacks struggled early, the Gamecocks would suffer their slump at the tail end of the set. Holding a 22-17 lead, South Carolina allowed the opposition to close the set with an 8-1 run to steal the win ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” four of those eight points came off attack errors.
2nd Set: The Gamecocks were able to even the match going into halftime, rallying back to earn a 25-23 win in a hard-fought game. Though they were out-hit .238 to .206, the Gamecocks saw Arkansas commit five service errors. There would be 11 total ties in the set, but Carolina found daylight at the end thanks to a 3-0 run out of a 20-all tie that would be the biggest lead by any side in the set. A kill from Claire Edwards and an ace from Aubrey Ezell earned the Gamecocks some elbow room, and the team held off any more comebacks to tie the match 1-1.
3rd Set: For as tight as the second set was, the third took it to a whole new level. There would be 23 ties and nine different lead changes in the all-important third set, with both sides battling for the extra edge needed to get the win. Arkansas leaned on its stud hitter Danielle Harbin, who had eight kills in the game, but Carolina countered with six kills from Mikayla Shields. The two teams committed just seven errors combined on the attack in the set, and after the teams traded point-for-point, it would be the Gamecocks who had the chance to serve for the win at 24-23. Arkansas’ Harbin would go off with kills on the next three points to snatch another win away from the home side.
4th Set: The Hogs stayed hot offensively in the fourth set, but the Gamecocks would not be able to match their opponent again in the fourth. The two sides battled to a 12-all tie early, but Arkansas scored eight of the next nine points from then on to pull away for good for the 25-18 win to clinch the match.
Stat of the Match
Arkansas’ offense turned on the jets in the third and fourth sets to pull out the win. After hitting just .171 in the opening two sets, the Razorbacks upped the ante and hit .365 over the next two to pull out the win.
- The Gamecocks ended the home schedule with a 10-5 record, the most wins at home in a season since 2012. This is the sixth-straight season the program has a home record of .500 or better.
- Mikayla Shields led the team with 18 kills and recorded her fifth double-double of the season thanks to 10 digs.
- Freshman Claire Edwards’ three solo blocks in the match tie the rally-scoring era record for most solo blocks in a four-set match. The last Gamecock to do it was Darian Dozier last season against Auburn (11/6/15).
The 2016 season comes to an end Friday evening, when the Gamecocks travel to Ole Miss to face the Rebels. First serve in Oxford is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the match is scheduled to air on the SEC Network + online stream.