Gamecocks Drop Weekend Finale to No. 12 Pittsburgh
The team finishes the first tournament of the year 1-2
PITTSBURGH, PA. – Gamecock volleyball ended its weekend at the Panther Challenge with a loss to tournament host Pittsburgh Saturday night, 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-20). South Carolina is 1-2 overall after the first weekend of the season, while the 12th-ranked Panthers moved to 3-0.
Claire Edwards led the team with eight kills and a career-high .727 hitting percentage, but the Gamecocks were unable to slow down a Pitt offense that ranked in the top 10 nationally in three different categories in 2018. Mikayla Shields and Mikayla Robinson were named to the seven-woman all-tournament team for their efforts this weekend.
SET ONE: The two teams slugged it out in the opening game, both offenses hit over .400 but the Panthers secured the 25-21 win behind the service line. Pitt recorded three aces and just one error on serve, while the Gamecocks went without an ace and committed three errors, and the five-point swing from that alone proved vital for the home side’s win.
SET TWO: Pitt was able to maintain its offensive efficiency in the second set, rolling to a 25-16 win after out-hitting the Gamecocks .444 to .065. The Panthers did not commit an attacking error until they were already up 20-10 in the set, and it would be their long miscue of the game. The Gamecocks did see Holly Eastridge pick up her first career kill, and Courtney Weber pass out her first assist.
SET THREE: South Carolina’s defense slowed the Panther attacks in the final game, but couldn’t transition its defense to offense in a 25-20 loss to close out the match. Claire Edwards was in the zone for the Gamecocks, leading all hitters in the set with five kills on just six swings. Freshman Kylee Stokes pitched in three blocks in the set, but South Carolina’s four other hitters besides Edwards combined for just four kills and eight errors on 21 attempts and the Panthers iced the win.
UP NEXT: Weather permitting, the Gamecocks will be back in action next weekend at the UCF Challenge in Orlando, Fla. The tournament, hosted by the Knights, runs three days and will pit the team against UCF Friday, Albany on Saturday and Kansas Sunday. Stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com and Gamecock volleyball social media for updates through the week.