Sept. 9, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s volleyball team dropped its second five-set match in a 24-hour span, as it lost to Radford (8-1) Saturday afternoon in the finale of the Carolina Classic. The loss drops the Gamecocks back to 5-4 this season.
SET 1: It was a promising start for Carolina, as it raced to a 25-12 win in the opening set behind a big run. Leading 8-6 early, the team went on a 12-0 run behind the service of Courtney Furlong to push ahead 20-6. Alicia Starr went 4-for-4 on her attacks, and Mikayla Robinson also added four kills to lead the Gamecock attack.
SET 2: As it would be for the rest of the match, Radford used the one-two-punch of Maddie Palmer and Stephanie Neast to draw even in the match. The Highlanders took control of the set early, but Carolina was able to draw even at 15-all. A 5-1 burst from there put the visitors back in control, and they scored the final five points in the set to claim a 25-18 win.
SET 3: Carolina’s offense struggled mightily in the third set, and were out-hit .480 to .050 by Radford. The Highlanders led wire-to-wire in the 25-13 win to take the 2-1 lead.
SET 4: The Gamecocks needed to fight to force and fifth set, and leaned on the arm of Robinson to get them there. The freshman middle had seven kills in the game, helping erase an early 8-6 deficit. Out of a 9-9 tie, Carolina scored 11 of the next 15 points to take the biggest lead of the set, 20-13, thanks to an ace from Aubrey Ezell. She would have two services aces in the set, and the Gamecocks held off a late rally from Radford to make it a 2-2 match.
SET 5: South Carolina fell into the same damaging habits that cost them in the third set, and despite a quick 3-0 start to the fifth behind a pair of aces from Claire Edwards, Radford recovered quickly and pulled away before the mid-set switchover. From a 6-6 tie, the Highlanders scored six of the next seven points and never looked back in the 15-9 win.
Stat of the Match
Radford enjoyed a 38-26 advantage in kills over the final three sets of the match. South Carolina hit .050 in the third and .045 in the fifth sets.
- Aubrey Ezell added five more aces in the match, giving her 16 total service aces for the tournament. The junior averaged an impressive 1.23 aces per set, along with her 4.54 digs per set.
- Mikayla Shields represented Carolina on the all-tournament team. The sophomore averaged four kills and 3.15 digs per set for the weekend.
- Mikayla Robinson’s 14 kills were a season high for the freshman.
The team has one final non-conference weekend before starting the conference season. Next is a two-day tournament at Clemson, where the Gamecocks will face Georgia Southern Friday and Texas Tech and Clemson Saturday.