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March 11, 2017

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PAIR RESULTS: MERCER DUAL

1: MERCER def. Smith/Zimmerman, 21-19, 16-21, 15-10

2: Culbert/Denney def. MERCER, 21-13, 21-17

3: Mannisto/Schnieder def. MERCER, 21-17, 21-19

4: Tendrich/Williams def. MERCER, 21-12, 21-18

5: Vitt/Harrison def. MERCER, 21-14, 21-12

Exhib: Wood/Baumann def. MERCER, 21-12, 17-21, 15-12

Order of Finish: 4,2,3,5,1

PAIR RESULTS: GRAND CANYON DUAL

1: GCU def. Smith/Zimmerman, 21-16, 21-14

2: Culbert/Denney def. GCU, 21-15, 16-21, 15-5

3: Mannisto/Schnieder def. GCU, 13-21, 21-12. 15-11

4: Tendrich/Williams def. GCU, 19-21, 21-16, 15-11

5: Vitt/Harrison def. GCU, 21-15, 21-15

Exhib: Edelman/Skaff def. GCU, 22-20, 21-18

Order of Finish: 2,4,1,5,3

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The beach volleyball team opened the home season Saturday with the start of the Gamecocks Challenge down at Wheeler Beach. South Carolina pulled in two 4-1 decisions on the afternoon, beating Mercer (5-2) and No. 11 Grand Canyon (6-2) to run its season record to 6-0 overall.

The Gamecocks opened play against Mercer with a quick 2-0 lead thanks to wins from the twos pair of Adrianna Culbert and Ali Denney (21-13, 21-17) and Macie Tendrich and Shannon Williams at the fours (21-12, 21-18). In the second wave of matches on Wheeler Beach, Carly Schnieder and Julia Mannisto provided the dual-clinching point with a win at the threes pair in straight sets, 21-17, 21-19.

The Bears handed Katie Smith and Katie Zimmerman their first loss of the season with a three-set decision, but with a win out of the fives pair in Franky Harrison and Jade Vitt, Carolina claimed the opening win.

The nightcap put the Gamecocks against a Grand Canyon program that has been on the rise in the early part of the season as well. Like South Carolina, the `Lopes earned their first-ever AVCA national ranking on Monday, sitting 11th overall. The 15th-ranked Gamecocks were able to get the program’s third win ever against a ranked opponent thanks to the early efforts of the second and fourth pairs.

The Culbert/Denney and Tendrich/Williams pairings both secured three-set wins to put the Gamecocks ahead 2-0 in the dual after the first wave. Denney and Culbert dropped their second set, but overwhelmed GCU in the decisive third game, 15-5. Tendrich and Williams had an even bigger hole to climb out of, after dropping the opening set 21-19. The two battled back for a 21-16 win in the second set, then carried the momentum through for a 15-11 win in the third.

Grand Canyon had a window of opportunity open early in the second wave of pairings, as the `Lopes quickly claimed the ones pair in straight sets and dominated the first game at the threes, 21-13. The deciding court would be with the fives, as Harrison and Vitt rebounded from an early 6-2 deficit to win set one 21-15, then cruised to another 21-15 decision in the second set to clinch the dual. The win at number five came mere seconds after Grand Canyon won the ones pairing to make it 2-1. Schnieder and Mannisto brought home the 4-1 win after also clawing back from a 1-0 deficit, winning set two 21-12 and set three 15-11 with all eyes on their court.

Notable

  • In the win over Mercer, senior Jade Vitt secured her 50th career dual win.
  • Junior Macie Tendrich recorded her 50th career win later against Grand Canyon, making her the first junior in program history to reach the milestone. Tendrich and Vitt join Sarah Blomgren as the only Gamecocks to reach 50 career dual wins.
  • Delaney Wood and AJ Baumann made their season debut in the exhibition pair against Mercer. The sophomores took home a three-set win over the Bears.
  • South Carolina now has won three straight duals against Mercer.

Quotable: Head Coach Moritz Moritz

On the win over Grand Canyon
“Everybody really grinded, we wanted this one, we really wanted to get this one back. We played them last year and it didn’t quite come out in the way that we wanted to. Even though we kind of have a fresh group, it was good to come out with this kind of energy and intensity today.”

Up Next

The Gamecocks will wrap up the home weekend with two more matches Sunday. First will be a 1 p.m. dual with CCSA rival UAB, then a tournament finale against Jacksonville at 5. Both matches will stream live on the SEC Network+ online service.