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Women's Volleyball  . 

Volleyball Drops 3-1 Decision to Cincinnati

The Gamecocks return to action Saturday against Cleveland State and Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, PA. – South Carolina volleyball opened its season Friday morning with a 3-1 loss to Cincinnati in the Panther Challenge tournament, hosted by Pittsburgh. The Gamecocks were led offensively by Mikayla Robinson’s 15 kills, and saw a career day defensively from Mikayla Shields (15 kills, 25 digs) but were unable to start strong in a number of sets and couldn’t pull out the tight decision.
 
SET ONE: The Gamecocks started slow in the opening game of the season, falling back 12-6 early, predominantly behind the service line. The Bearcats had three aces and South Carolina had three service errors all in that opening 18-point span to put them behind. The Gamecocks spread the offense around to help narrow the deficit, all five hitters finished with multiple kills, but weren’t able to climb all the way back into it. After getting it back to 22-20, Cincinnati scored three of the next four points to close out the 25-21 win.
 
SET TWO: Senior Alicia Starr gave the team a boost in the second, getting a number of big energy plays to pull the Gamecocks back into focus for a 25-18 win. Neither side would lead by more than two points until a Carolina run that would put the game to rest. Starr had a big solo block and then a kill to take a 14-all score and push the team ahead by two. From that 14-14 tie on, the Gamecocks had an 11-4 advantage, with five of those 11 points off Cincinnati errors. 
 
SET THREE: Cincinnati used a late run to break away in the third, and grabbed a 25-20 win to go up 2-1 in the match. With just a 15-13 lead, the Bearcats went on an 8-2 run from there to get some breathing room on Carolina. The Gamecocks would cut the deficit down to four, 23-19, but were not able to get any closer. Robinson and Shields combined for 10 kills in the set, but the rest of the offense would combine for six errors and no kills on 14 swings.
 
SET FOUR: South Carolina’s defense was unable to slow down the Bearcat attack early in the fourth, and weren’t able to complete the comeback again in a 25-21 loss to close out the match. Cincinnati committed just three errors total in the game and built a 13-7 lead – eight of those 13 points coming off kills – to force the Gamecocks into a quick timeout. The opposition was able to keep Carolina at an arm’s length the rest of the way to clinch the win. Jess Vastine and Shields led the attack with four kills apiece and the team did post a game-high 16 kills in the set, but Cincinnati finished with 18 kills and hit .333 to close it out.

UP NEXT: The team returns to action Saturday morning with a 10 a.m. match against Cleveland State. It will then return Saturday night for a 7 p.m. match against the host Panthers. That will air on the ACC Network Extra online channel.

NOTABLE

  • Courtney Koehler surpassed 2500 career assists after posting 42 in the match Friday morning. The senior is currently seventh in program history for assists.
  • Mikayla Shields recorded her 25thdouble-double as a Gamecock, posting 15 kills to go with a career-high 25 digs. She now stands ninth in program history for double-doubles.
  • Mikayla Robinson was a high-performing attacker Friday, recording 15 kills on just 28 swings. The junior came just one kill shy of her career high, which came in a five-set match last season.
  • The team’s middle hitters in general were standout performers Friday. Along with Robinson’s 15 kills, Claire Edwards pitched in six kills on 14 swings. The duo combined for a .395 hitting percentage in the match.
  • Earning her first start since 2017, Alicia Starr posted a career high 15 digs and added five kills and a pair of blocks for the Gamecocks.
  • The service line was key all match long for the two teams. Cincinnati finished with five more aces than the Gamecocks, while committing just two more errors on serve than Carolina did. Courtney Koehler accounted for the team’s lone service ace.

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