Sept. 8, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Gamecock volleyball team dropped a five-set to Miami (Ohio) on Friday night, 25-21, 20-25, 25-15, 22-25, 11-15. The Redhawks improve to 6-4, while Carolina stand at 5-3 this season. Mikayla Shields and Aubrey Ezell each had career nights, with Shield hitting .431 with 26 kills and Ezell digging 22 balls and adding six service aces.
SET 1: Charged up by a crowed of over 1,800, the Gamecocks came out strong in the first game, winning it 25-21. The team limited Miami to just eight kills in the game, and would not trail again after breaking a 5-5 tie early. Shields, Mikayla Robinson and Courtney Furlong each had three kills to lead the offense.
SET 2: The Redhawks evened up the match with a convincing 25-20 win in set two. Holding a 6-5 lead, the visitors reeled off ten of the next 12 points to take full control. Carolina was able to cut it back to as close as three points late, 22-19, but Miami pulled away for the win.
SET 3: In the always-critical third set, it was all about the Gamecock servers. Miami took an early 9-7 lead, but Jess Vastine served up a 5-0 run to swing the scoreboard to Carolina’s favor and force a timeout. After the Redhawks made it back within one, 15-14, Aubrey Ezell unleashed her trademark topspin jump serve to put the set out of reach. She would key a 7-0 run for Carolina, and in that run Ezell an incredible four aces. She finished the set with five aces total, and Carolina had seven as a team and ran away with the 25-15 win and a 2-1 lead.
SET 4: The battle-tested Redhawks would not go away just yet, though, and would force a fifth set thanks to a 25-22 win. Mikayla Shields carried the team in the fourth, recording nine of the 12 total kills for Carolina in the set. Miami mixed up its offense and accounted for 17 of its 25 points in the set by way of the kill.
SET 5: Shields again was asked to bear the brunt of the offense in the final game, with the sophomore recording five of the team’s eight total kills to push her match total to 26. The game was tight early, with Miami up just 8-7 as the team’s switched sides of the court, but key errors late cost Carolina a chance at victory. Shields’ 25th kill of the night made it just 12-11 in Miami’s favor, but back-to-back aces for the Redhawks iced the match.
Stat of the Match
South Carolina held Eastern Kentucky to just a .115 hitting percentage in the match, and out-blocked the Colonels 10-2.
- Ezell’s six aces tie the program’s rally-scoring era record for most in a five-set match.
- Shields’ 26 kills match a career high, and her 51 total attacks and 19 digs set new career highs.
- The Gamecocks had won five-straight five-set matches before Friday. The team’s last loss in five sets came against Tennessee on Oct. 18, 2015.
- The loss to Miami snaps a 13-match winning streak against non-conference opponents at home. The last loss came over two years ago, on Aug. 29, 2015, against North Carolina State. The Gamecocks are now 37-2 against non-conference opponents in the CVC under head coach Scott Swanson.
Quotable: Head Coach Scott Swanson
On the team’s result against Miami
“I thought Mikayla Shields and Aubrey Ezell kept us in that match and gave us chance to winÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ when they (Miami) pass well, they set such a fast tempo, very unpredictable, very good setters. I don’t feel we blocked as well as we could’ve, but really our blocking starts with everybody serving tough and trying to keep them out of system.”
Saturday will close out the Carolina Classic, with South Carolina matching up with Radford at 2 p.m. The Highlanders are 7-1 this season, with a win over EKU and a loss to Miami starting their weekend in Columbia.