Beach Volleyball Closes Weekend on Hilton Head Island
The Gamecocks lost to No. 10 Grand Canyon but swept College of Charleston
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – South Carolina beach volleyball split the final day of the inaugural Hilton Head Island Invitational on Sunday. The Gamecocks (3-5) came just a few points shy of another top-10 upset, losing 3-2 to No. 10 Grand Canyon (7-1), but rallied back to sweep in-state rival College of Charleston (0-4) in the weekend finale.
“The level of competition we faced today was high and despite tired legs and a long day on the sand yesterday, I thought the team battled hard,” Moritz said. “They emptied their tanks this weekend, and I say that in the best way possible. Physically and emotionally, they put everything they had into these matches and that’s all you can ask for as a coach. This weekend was an experience that will make us a better team the rest of this season and beyond.”
In the opening dual with Grand Canyon, the Gamecocks were able to earn a slight 2-1 lead early after a sweep by Hannah Edelman and Madison Brabham in the fourth position and a 25-23, 21-17 win for Skylar Allen and Katie Smith in the second position. The ‘Lopes battled back to a 2-2 tie with a win on the top court, and the deciding match would be fought in the threes. Avery Davis and Franky Harrison came just shy of another thrilling upset, dropping a three-set decision to close the match at 3-2 in favor of GCU.
South Carolina rallied back to end the weekend on a high note against Charleston. Morgyn Greer and Jordan Smith started the team rolling with a 21-14, 21-14 sweep in the fifth flight, and Brabham and Edelman follow soon after with a 21-19, 22-20 score to give the team a 2-0 lead. Allen and Smith yielded just 15 total points in a 21-5, 21-10 trouncing in the twos that clinched the team win, and Davis and Harrison also rolled to a sweep in the threes.
The match closed out under a sunset across Coligny Beach, with Carly Schnieder and Jess Vastine battling out a three-set win on court one, 21-16, 17-21, 15-11, to complete the team sweep.
The win was a fitting end to an eventful weekend for Moritz and his team.
“I’m so grateful for all the work that went into making this weekend happen, and I know our team is too,” Moritz said. “Being able to bring this talented group of teams to Hilton Head is special, I hope this is the first of many trips to the island for our program.”
The road gets even longer for the Gamecocks, who now will head to the west coast for their next event. South Carolina travels to Callifornia for the first time as a team next weekend, playing a doubleheader in Malibu on Saturday, March 7 and then Santa Monica on March 8. Saturday pits the Gamecocks against Pepperdine and Long Beach State, Sunday the team plays Loyola Marymount and Stetson. All four opponents are ranked in the top 12 of the current coaches poll.
#10 Grand Canyon 3, #17 South Carolina 2
1. Teagan DeFalco/Bella Bauman (GCU) def. Carly Schnieder/Jess Vastine (SC) 21-12, 21-17
2. Skylar Allen/Katie Smith (SC) def. Hannah Towne/Jessica Stansfield (GCU) 25-23, 21-17
3. Katie Sarber/Anaya Evans (GCU) def. Avery Davis/Franky Harrison (SC) 21-19, 12-21, 15-8
4. Madison Brabham/Hannah Edelman (SC) def. Natalie Honzovicova/Katie Hess (GCU) 21-16, 21-17
5. Taylor Jarzombek/Madi Relaz (GCU) def. Jordan Smith/Morgyn Greer (SC) 21-11, 21-18
Ex. Micaela Mirabel/Devonne Ryter (GCU) vs. Sarah Nacouzi/Kaeli Crews (SC) no result
Order of finish: 5,4,2,1,3*
#17 South Carolina 5, College of Charleston 0
1. Jess Vastine/Carly Schnieder (SC) def. Mandy Napierala/Lauren Freed (COFC) 21-16, 17-21, 15-11
2. Skylar Allen/Katie Smith (SC) def. Claire Campbell/Amani Dunston (COFC) 21-5, 21-10
3. Franky Harrison/Avery Davis (SC) def. Kyra Thompson/Caroline Bower (COFC) 21-18, 21-15
4. Madison Brabham/Hannah Edelman (SC) def. Meghan Murphy/Sky Benjamin (COFC) 21-19, 22-20
5. Jordan Smith/Morgyn Greer (SC) def. Logan Manusky/Ella Ridinger (COFC) 21-14, 21-14
Ex. Mikaela Dougherty/Kayla Demari (COFC) def. Sarah Nacouzi/Kaeli Crews (SC) 21-19, 21-12
Order of finish: 5,4,2*,3,1