Gamecocks Roll to Two Friday Victories
The team defeated Tulane and Missouri State to open the regular season's final weekend
COLUMBIA, S.C. – It was a successful return home for the beach volleyball team on Friday, the Gamecocks went 2-0 on Wheeler Beach to open the weekend’s Palmetto Invitational tournament. In the afternoon, South Carolina dropped conference rival Tulane (16-13) in a rain-soaked 4-1 dual, and capped the day with a 5-0 win over Missouri State (11-10) after honoring its seven-member graduating class. The two wins improve Carolina’s record to 17-8 for the year.
In the opener against the Green Wave, Whitley Ballard and Jess Vastine beat the rain and Tulane with a three-set thriller that put the Gamecocks ahead after the first round of matches. A Tulane forfeit in the fives already had Carolina up 1-0, but Ballard and Vastine were able to work out a 28-26, 18-21, 15-4 victory to make it 2-0 in the dual. Franky Harrison and Hannah Edelman clinched the win with a 21-18, 21-19 win on court three, and Katie Smith and Lydia Dimke fought back from a first-set loss to win 10-21, 21-17, 15-8 at the twos for the team’s final point.
To commemorate its senior class in the nightcap, the Gamecocks fielded all seven graduating members of the program in the starting lineup against Missouri State. The senior combination of Caroline Skaff and Lauryn Gillis appropriately led off the scoring, getting a 21-16, 21-13 sweep at the fifth pairing. Ballard and Vastine followed with another win to make it 2-0, and the Gamecocks rolled from there. Dimke and Smith earned their 20th win of the season together with a sweep at the twos, and clinched the team win.
Cadie Bates and Shannon Williams won soon after with an equally significant victory. Fresh off their senior night recognition, the two earned their 15th win of the season as the number-one pair. It broke a three-year-old program record for most wins by a pair in the top position for a single season, previously held by Williams and Julia Mannisto in 2016. Harrison and Edelman closed out the dual with a comeback win at the threes, taking the 19-21, 21-19, 15-8 win for their third straight victory together.
The weekend and regular season wrap up tomorrow with two more duals for the Gamecocks. At 1 p.m. the team faces UNCW, and then closes action with a 5 p.m. dual against College of Charleston. It will be a perfect day for families to come out to Wheeler Beach, as the team and South Carolina track and field will co-host a Kid’s Fest, with activities and promotions for children 12 and under, and even more giveaways for fans in attendance at Saturday’s 5 p.m. dual with Charleston. More information on the event can be found HERE.
#11 South Carolina 4, Tulane 1
1. Eva Toruella/Kaylie McHugh (TUL) def. Shannon Williams/Cadie Bates (SC) 24-22, 21-13
2. Katie Smith/Lydia Dimke (SC) def. Lauren Orlich/Tarin Mergener (TUL) 10-21, 21-17, 15-8
3. Franky Harrison/Hannah Edelman (SC) def. Haley Gibson/Ellie Leitko (TUL) 21-18, 21-19
4. Whitley Ballard/Jess Vastine (SC) def. Gabriella Becerra/Morgan Esters (TUL) 28-26, 18-21, 15-4
5. Carly Schnieder/Lauryn Gillis (SC) def. Tulane, by forfeit
Order of finish: Doubles (5,4,1,3,2)
#11 South Carolina 5, Missouri State 0
1. Shannon Williams/Cadie Bates (SC) def. Julia Hanson/Kelsey Larsen (MSU) 21-18, 21-10
2. Lydia Dimke/Katie Smith (SC) def. Mikaela Mosquera/Chloee McDaniel (MSU) 21-14, 21-12
3. Franky Harrison/Hannah Edelman (SC) def. Sydney LeMay/Kylee Davis (MSU) 19-21, 21-19, 15-8
4. Jess Vastine/Whitley Ballard (SC) def. Sarah Demmer/Sam Brinkmann (MSU) 21-15, 21-15
5. Lauryn Gillis/Caroline Skaff (SC) def. Bentley Mara/Ivy Reynolds (MSU) 21-16, 21-13
Ext. Veronica Snelling/Abby Jackson (MSU) def. AJ Baumann/Delaney Wood (SC) 21-19, 24-22
Order of finish: Doubles (5,4,2,1,3)