Gamecocks Defeat Clemson to Sweep Weekend Tournament
Shields earns tournament MVP honors
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina (3-0) defended its home court against rival Clemson (1-2) Saturday in the finale of the Gamecock Invitational tournament, and the team capped a perfect weekend with a 3-0 victory over the Tigers. Mikayla Shields earned MVP honors after finishing with 10 kills and seven digs in the match; she was one of three Gamecocks with double-digit kills as the offense hit 48 overall with a .367 attack percentage.
It was a milestone win for the program, also, as it was the 800thin the 46-year history of South Carolina volleyball.
SET 1: Two early runs in the opening game gave the Gamecocks all the momentum they’d need to take a 1-0 lead in the match. With Clemson ahead 6-5, a 4-0 keyed by a pair of blocks led by Mikayla Robinson flipped the score for Carolina, and a 5-0 run later would extend the home team’s 11-10 lead beyond the Tigers’ reach. Robinson and Shields combined for nine of the team’s 16 kills in the set, and South Carolina’s offense hit .417 to run up a 25-21 score.
SET 2: It would be a newcomer to the rivalry who led the way for South Carolina in the second frame. Junior Brittany McLean led all attackers with six kills on just eight swings in the set, helping the Gamecocks win a 25-22 decision. After some early shuffling, South Carolina built a modest lead and would hold on tight to it, keeping Clemson at an arm’s length for nearly the entire game. The Tigers would get as close as two points, 22-20, down the stretch, but a McLean kill closed the set and gave the home side a 2-0 lead.
SET 3: The Gamecocks led wire-to-wire in the final game, hitting .464 to cruise to the 25-18 win. Jess Vastine and Robinson tied for the lead with five kills apiece in the game, helping the team take a 10-3 right from the jump. The Tigers would come no closer than four points the rest of the set, and Robinson’s 10thkill of the night provided the match point for the garnet and black.
- Joining Shields on the all-tournament team were Courtney Koehler and Claire Edwards. Koehler averaged 10.78 assists and 1.78 digs per set for the tournament, and Edwards hit .350 with 19 kills over nine sets as an attacker.
- This is the fourth-straight win over Clemson, and the 40thvictory in the all-time series for the Gamecocks. This is the longest win streak by either team in the series since 1989.
- This is the third-straight season where the team started 3-0 and didn’t drop a single set.
UP NEXT: The Gamecocks hit the road for a weekend tournament at Rice next Friday and Saturday. The team faces Liberty and the host Owls on Friday, and finish the weekend with a match against Houston Baptist on Saturday.