Gamecocks Upset No. 20 Missouri
It's the program's second top-25 win of the last 12 years
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina volleyball pulled the upset on its home court Friday night, defeating No. 20 Missouri in five sets. The Gamecocks snapped an eight-game win streak by the Tigers (20-5, 10-3 SEC), and earned its first win over a top-25-ranked team since 2016. Mikayla Shields led the team with 19 kills, but three other Gamecocks joined her in double figures for the category.
The win snaps a two-game losing streak for South Carolina, and moves the team to 16-6 overall and 7-5 in conference play.
SET 1: Missouri got off to a fast start in the match, holding the Gamecocks to just nine kills and a .179 hitting percentage in a 25-18 decision. The Tigers hit almost .400 as a team, and never trailed in the set. A modest 4-0 run late drew Carolina within three, 20-17, but Missouri scored five of the next six points to close out the game.
SET 2: South Carolina’s offense bounced back quickly, and were able to outlast Missouri in a 25-23 win to even the match. Mikayla Robinson helped spark the team early, with three kills in the team’s first four points. Her momentum opened the offense up, and Mikayla Shields would be the benefactor, as the junior led the team with five kills. The set would be hotly contested, with 14 total ties and 10 lead changes, but the Gamecocks found daylight with a kill from Brittany McLean and a Mizzou attack error late that put them up 22-20. That bit of rope would be all the Gamecocks needed, siding out with a Shields kill to even the match at 1-1.
SET 3: Missouri’s defense roared back in the third, holding the Gamecocks to an .065 hitting percentage to take the 2-1 lead behind a 25-21 decision. An early 5-0 run gave the Tigers an 8-6 lead, and a second run of 5-1 soon after would put the game out of reach. McLean and Edwards led the team with three kills apiece, but Carolina would only have 10 kills total with eight attack errors in the set.
SET 4: In a must-win situation, the home side would pull away late to take a 25-20 win and tie up the match. It was another tight game early, with eight ties and three lead changes before either side made it to 15 points. Missouri took at 15-14 lead into the media timeout, but the Gamecocks came out of the break with the key run of the game. Five straight points, coming behind the serve of Addie Bryant, flipped the score in Carolina’s favor. The home team would not relinquish the lead, and sent the match to a deciding fifth set.
SET 5: South Carolina had a promising start to the fifth, getting kills from four different hitters early to build a 7-5 lead. Missouri appeared to sweep the rug out from under the Gamecocks, though, using a 7-1 run to take a commanding lead into the home stretch. The team leaned on the duo of Robinson and Shields to erase the deficit, as the pair combined for five kills in the team’s final seven points to help the team close out the important win with a 15-13 decision. Robinson put away a kill on an overpassed ball from Missouri, and after a key dig from Aubrey Ezell, Shields put away the transition kill to seal the win.
- The team’s last win over a top-25-ranked team was also Missouri, when the Tigers were ranked 21stbut dropped a 3-1 decision in the Carolina Volleyball Center on Nov. 13, 2016. Previous to that, it was all the way back to 2006, when the team defeated No. 6 Florida at home.
- The Gamecocks have three wins in the all-time series, all three coming at home and over the last four meetings.
- Mikayla Robinson’s .478 hitting percentage was the team’s highest individual rate in SEC play for the Gamecocks this season, and is the sixth-highest percentage for a five-set match in the team’s rally-scoring era. Her 12 kills are the most for the sophomore in SEC play this season, and second-most overall.
- The team is now 5-1 at home in SEC play, the five conference wins are the most by the Gamecocks since 2008.
- Mikayla Shields’ 19 kills are the most by a Gamecock this season. The team also saw Robinson (12), McLean (11) and Claire Edwards (10) reach double figures in kills.
- Shields also had 10 digs, marking her 22nd career double-double. That moves her into the program’s all-time top 15. The junior has six double-doubles this season, seventh-most in the SEC.
- Senior Courtney Furlong earned her first start of the season, and responded with six kills with a .286 hitting percentage, and a pair of aces.
- South Carolina is now 2-5 this season when losing the first set of a match. It’s the first time in SEC play this season that the team was out-hit by the opposition and still won.
STAT OF THE MATCH: Trailing 2-1, the Gamecock offense went on a tear in the final two sets to pull off the win. In the fourth and fifth sets combined, the team hit .407 and committed just four total attack errors.
UP NEXT: The Gamecocks will be home again on Sunday, hosting Auburn (10-12, 3-9 SEC) for a 1:30 match. The Tigers are coming off a loss to Texas A&M at home on Wednesday night.