Gamecocks Sweep Corpus Christi to Open Season
Shields and Vastine led the team with 10 kills apiece
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Gamecock volleyball team kicked off the Tom Mendoza era with a 3-0 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday afternoon. South Carolina saw double-digit kills from Jess Vastine and Mikayla Shields, and the defense blocked back nine balls to hold the Islanders to just a .159 attack percentage.
SET 1: A crowd of 1,512 fans got the team off to a hot start in the opening game, forcing an A&M timeout with an 8-1 lead. The offense saw producers all across the net, with Shields powering out five kills, Mikayla Robinson with four kills on four swings, and Vastine adding four as well. The Islanders got no closer than five points in the set, and Carolina ran off a 25-12 win.
SET 2: The visitors rallied in the second, jumping ahead 14-8 thanks to four service errors by the Gamecocks. Behind the arm of Vastine, who converted on her first four attacks of the set, South Carolina chipped away and would eventually tie the score at 19. There would be three lead changes and four ties from then on, but a big block from Courtney Koehler and Claire Edwards put the team up 24-23, and an A&M error closed out the set.
SET 3: South Carolina again built an early lead in the decisive third set, jumping ahead 12-6, but the Islanders would close late in an attempt to extend the match. They would out-hit the Gamecocks .318 to .160 overall in the game, and went on a 7-1 run late to tie the set at 21. A kill from Shields broke up the run, and Aubrey Ezell put away back-to-back aces to ice the win. The senior libero totaled four aces for the match.
The Gamecocks are back in action Friday night, when they host ETSU at 7:30 p.m.