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March 12, 2017

PAIR RESULTS: JACKSONVILLE DUAL

1: Culbert/Denney def. JU, 21-11, 24-22

2: Smith/Zimmerman def. JU, 21-7, 21-19

3: Mannisto/Schnieder def. JU, 21-6, 21-9

4: Tendrich/Williams def. JU, 21-13, 21-14

5: Edelman/Skaff def. JU, 21-16, 18-21, 15-10

Exhib: Sorensen/Nacouzi def. JU, 19-21, 21-18, 15-8

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

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A drastic shift in the weather and a more subtle shift in the lineup did little to derail the South Carolina beach volleyball team Sunday. The Gamecocks extended their best start to a season in program history with a 5-0 sweep of Jacksonville (1-8). South Carolina, ranked No. 15 in the country, now stands at 7-0 through the first two weekends of the regular season.

The team was originally scheduled to also play against CCSA rival UAB at 1 p.m. but the match was cancelled on account of the weather conditions at Wheeler Beach. Temperatures dropped into the 30s at the start of the day, and were joined by sleet and intermittent snow flurries

In the first wave of pairs, the combination of Katie Smith and Katie Zimmerman shook off a pair of Saturday losses to claim the win at the second pair. With Jacksonville’s defense pulling off the net more, the two Katies swung away on the net and were able to score on a variety of shots. Rounding out a perfect first wave was the ever-steady combination of Macie Tendrich and Shannon Williams. The fours pair went 21-13, 21-14 on their court, giving the team a 2-0 lead on the Dolphins heading into the final pairings.

Adrianna Culbert and Ali Denney jumped up into the top pair for the weekend finale, and continued to produce. A day removed from Denney being isolated as the pair’s main attacker due to the opposition’s service, it would be an even mix of both Gamecocks at the net. The pair cruised to a 21-11 win in the opening set then fought off a great effort by the Dolphins in set two, erasing an early deficit to sweep the match with a 24-22 win.

Also premiering at a new spot in the lineup Sunday were Hannah Edelman and Caroline Skaff. The two freshmen went undefeated as the exhibition pair down at the UNF Beach Invite to open the season, and they made their first collegiate start in the fives pair. The combo split the first two sets, but with the full support of the team, Edelman and Skaff iced the 5-0 team win with a 15-10 victory in the decisive third set.

Notable

  • Julia Mannisto and Carly Schnieder had South Carolina’s most dominant performance of the season to sweep their match at the threes. Thanks to a 21-6, 21-9 win, the pair held Jacksonville to the lowest combined point total of any opposing pair faced so far this season.
  • Hannah Sorensen and Sarah Nacouzi made their Gamecock debuts Saturday as the exhibition pair. Sorensen, a transfer from Mercer, and the freshman Nacouzi earned a three-set victory.
  • With the win, South Carolina now leads the all-time series with Jacksonville, 3-2. The 5-0 sweep is the team’s most decisive victory in the series.

Quotable: Head Coach Moritz Moritz

On the move up in the lineup for Culbert and Denney
“Dri and Ali have done a nice job in the last couple of weeks, and yesterday in our two competitions, really elevating their game. I thought it was an appropriate time to give them a shot, and it really speaks to our depth at this point. Katie (Smith) and Katie (Zimmerman) are a phenomenal pair, and Ali and Dri are as well. Getting them both experience in that position, I believe, is crucial for the future of the team.”

Up Next

The Gamecocks remain at home for one more day, hosting Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. for a solo dual before hitting the road for a weekend tournament. South Carolina will take part in the Tiger Beach Challenge, hosted by CCSA rival LSU. The two-day tournament pits the Gamecocks against the nationally ranked Tigers, Tulane, Florida Gulf Coast and UAB.