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Women's Volleyball  . 

Gamecock Defense Shines in Five-Set Win at Arkansas

Bryant's 35 digs and 18 total blocks powered the team to its first road win since Sept. 12

FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. – The South Carolina volleyball team scored a key road win in five sets Sunday in Arkansas, 23-25, 26-24, 25-18, 21-25, 15-10. The Gamecocks saw libero Addie Bryant post the highest dig total in 12 years, and got double-doubles from four others and a season-high 18 blocks in the match. The win improves the team’s record to 11-7 (3-3 SEC), Arkansas is now 6-11 (0-5 SEC).
SET ONE: The South Carolina offense wouldn’t be crisp at the start of the match, but were able to get points from the service line that kept them in contention. Arkansas committed five service errors before the Gamecocks reached 20 points, giving Carolina a 19-17 lead despite recording just seven kills to that point. The Razorbacks rallied from that score for a 6-1 run that put them ahead for good in a 25-23 final. Arkansas finished with a 15-9 advantage in kills, holding the Gamecocks to a .156 hitting percentage.
SET TWO: A pair of early blocks from Britt McLean and Mikayla Shields put the Gamecocks up 5-1 to start the set, but there would be five more lead changes and 17 ties separating the two sides from a final in what would be the wildest set of the match. Arkansas’ offense continued to out-pace Carolina, though, and the home side used a late 4-0 run to take a 22-19 lead. 
Shields keyed a 3-0 answer from the Gamecocks, as the senior tied it back up at 22 with a kill and a service ace. Arkansas was able to reach set point first, at 24-22, but the Gamecocks scored the final four points of the set to steal the 26-24 win. Addie Bryant was outstanding in the back row, recording 12 digs in the set alone, and the offense was spearheaded by Shields’ four kills.
SET THREE: With both teams pressing for an advantage in a crucial third set, the Gamecock offense had their best showing in the match and used a late run to get a 25-18 win. South Carolina out-hit Arkansas .316 to .091 in the game, and finished with 15 kills after getting just 20 total in the first two sets combined. Despite the advantage in the box score, it would be the Razorbacks that held an 18-15 lead late before a game-breaking run for Carolina. 
Behind the serve of Courtney Koehler, the Gamecocks scored 10 unanswered points for the 25-18 final. Big blocks at the net were the catalyst for the run; during that 10-point span the Gamecocks put down three blocks, part of a total of five in the set. Mikayla Robinson also converted five kills on five swings for the offense.
SET FOUR: Looking to cap the win in the fourth, South Carolina built a big lead but were error-prone down the stretch and allowed Arkansas to extend the match with a 25-21 loss. The Gamecocks pushed ahead 18-12, but committed eight attacking errors from that point on to let the lead slip away. All told, the offense hit in the negative for the set and needed to rally back for a win in the fifth
SET FIVE: Jess Vastine gave the team a shot in the arm to start the fifth, getting kills on her first three swings to push the Gamecocks to an early lead and an 8-5 advantage at the side change. The advantage ballooned to five after back-to-back blocks from Shields and Robinson made it 12-7, and Robinson’s 11th kill of the afternoon capped the 15-10 win.

NEXT UP: It will be a quick turnaround for the team, who will play a third consecutive road match on Wednesday night when it faces No. 14 Florida. First serve against the Gators will be at 8 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. That will be the lone match of the week, as the Gamecocks have their bye weekend before returning to action on Oct. 25 against Tennessee.