Gamecocks Bow out of NCAA Tournament to No. 9 Washington
South Carolina ends the season with a 20-12 overall record
SEATTLE, WASH. – South Carolina volleyball saw its season end in the second round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night, losing to host Washington, 25-23, 26-24, 25-8. The Gamecocks end the season with a 20-12 overall record. Mikayla Shields led the offense with 11 kills, but the team would be uncharacteristically error-prone and allowed the Huskies to out-hit it .256 to .084 in the match.
SET ONE: The Gamecocks raced out to an early lead, stealing the momentum from the home side to force an early timeout leading 10-5. A 4-0 rally from Washington cut the deficit to two, 15-13, but Carolina answered back with a block from Claire Edwards out of a timeout that sparked three unanswered points. Washington’s offense would not go easily, making another rally that gave it the team’s first lead since 2-0, at 23-22. A kill from Britt McLean tied it up at 23, but Washington’s all-american pin hitter Kara Bajema’s eighth kill of the set paired with a Carolina attack error gave the Huskies the comeback win, 25-23.
SET TWO: The second set would be a battle early, with four lead changes and seven ties before either team passed 10 points. South Carolina was able to take the first run, getting big blocks from Edwards and Jess Vastine to push out to a 13-10 lead. After a quiet first set, Mikayla Robinson emerged as an offensive threat late in the second, providing four of the team’s first nine kills – her fourth advancing the team’s lead to 18-13. Washington used a 4-0 scoring run to rally late again, though, and tied the set back up at 21. After ties at 22 and 23, the Gamecocks held set point after a Mikayla Shields kill but were denied. The Huskies used a block and Gamecock attack error after that to take the set, 26-24.
SET THREE: Washington scored the sets first five points out of the break, two coming off blocks, and the Gamecocks called an early timeout. The offense was error-prone early, committing seven attack errors in the first 10 Husky points, and Washington closed out the match with a 25-8 score in the third.