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Women's Volleyball  . 

Gamecocks Rally to Beat Cleveland State

The team trailed two sets to one; Vastine hits career high in kills

PITTSBURGH, PA. – South Carolina volleyball survived a scare on day two of its Panther Challenge tournament in Pittsburgh, as the Gamecocks overcame a 2-1 set deficit to beat Cleveland State Saturday morning (25-19, 13-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-10). Jess Vastine had a double-double with 16 kills and 16 digs, and Mikayla Robinson (14 kills) and Mikayla Shields (17) also boosted the offense in the team’s first win of 2019.
SET ONE: Cleveland State used a slew of miscues from the Gamecocks to build an 11-3 lead to start the match. Three of those 11 points for the Vikings came off unforced attack errors by the Gamecocks along with two service errors. Once Carolina was able to shore up the issues, the offense started rolling. By swings from Alicia Starr sparked an 11-2 run that would put the Gamecocks ahead for the first time in the set. After earning her first start of the weekend, Jess Vastine was a game changer on both offense and defense. The junior had five kills and seven digs, and the team as a whole accounted for a match-high 19 kills to swing momentum in a 25-19 win. 
SET TWO: The Vikings built an almost identical advantage to begin game two, but this time around the Gamecocks would not find the offense needed for a comeback. Cleveland State out-hit South Carolina .560 to .133 in the game and evened the match with a 25-13 win.
SET THREE: South Carolina found itself in trouble after another loss in the third. Despite holding advantages in kills and digs for the game, a number of unforced errors and four blocks from the Viking defense made the difference in a set that was close throughout. Tied up at 18 late, Cleveland State put away back-to-back kills that sparked a 4-0 run that put it ahead for good. Shields led the offense with five kills and just one error on nine swings in the game.
SET FOUR: Facing a must-win situation, the Gamecocks needed to tough out a very close fourth game to extend the match. The set featured nine ties and five lead changes, but some late effort from Britt McLean made the difference for Carolina in a 25-23 win. Tied at 17, McLean put away and kill and then made a big block on the ensuing play to give her team some breathing room and ultimately the final lead change of the set. Shields and Robinson each went for five kills in the frame, and they went back-to-back on kills for the team’s final two points to send it to a fifth set.
SET FIVE: It wasn’t a promising start for South Carolina in the fifth, but Vastine was able to serve the team to a 15-10 win to close it out. Cleveland State built a 5-1 lead, but the Gamecocks answered with a 4-0 run to tie it back up, with Vastine providing two kills in that stretch. She would toe the service line soon after in an 8-all game and sparked a 5-0 run to put the game out of reach of the Vikings. Vastine dropped a pair of aces off the net tape, and Claire Edwards provided two blocks in the decisive run, and Shields’ match-high 17th kill closed out the win.