Volleyball Drops Series Opener at Tennessee
The Gamecocks received career nights from Covas and Robinson in the match
KNOXVILLE, TENN. – South Carolina fell in four sets at Tennessee (2-3) Friday night, dropping its fall record to 3-2. The team saw career nights from Camilla Covas and Mikayla Robinson, but were plagued by errors in the loss.
SET ONE: South Carolina’s offense struggled from the jump, helping Tennessee build an 14-2 lead behind seven Gamecock attacking errors on their first 21 swings, and 11 others in that stretch were dug by the Volunteer defense. The early trends would hold, and Tennessee finished off a 25-7 set score with a 14-5 advantage in kills and out-hit Carolina .323 to -.139. Camilla Covas was a lone bright spot for the Gamecocks, recording eight digs.
SET TWO: The Gamecocks wasted no time shaking off the result of set one, riding the momentum provided by the trio of Kyla Manning, Holly Eastridge and Mikayla Robinson to build a 16-10 lead. Manning provided an emphatic solo block, an ace and a kill, and Robinson and Eastridge each accounted for three kills in the team’s first 11 points of the set. Carolina stretch the lead out to as much as eight, and used kills from four different attackers to close out the 25-20 final score and even the match.
SET THREE: Another offensive drought started the third, with South Carolina committing three errors with just one kill on its first 11 swings. Tennessee forced an early timeout with a 10-4 lead, with seven of the Vols’ 10 points coming on kills. That early margin would be all the home side needed, as Carolina would get no closer than four in a 25-20 final and a 2-1 lead in the match for the Vols. Mikayla Robinson had a strong set offensively, but her four kills accounted for a third of the team’s output while Tennessee hit .406 with 16 kills in the third.
SET FOUR: The fourth set started tight, but another game-breaking run early keyed Tennessee to a lead it would carry the distance in a 25-20 final to close out the match. With the Gamecocks leading 6-5, the Vols ran off seven unanswered points – five coming off kills – and forced South Carolina into an early timeout. Out of the break, the Gamecocks started to chip away at the 12-6 deficit, eventually drawing a Vols timeout at 16-14 after Robinson put away her 13th and 14th kills of the night.
The home side steadied itself out of the timeout, scoring the next two points and the Gamecocks drew no closer than three points the rest of the way. Robinson put up eye-popping numbers in the set, recording eight kills on just 11 swings with no errors, but she was unable to turn the momentum of the early run.
- With her four blocks in the match, Mikayla Robinson surpassed Belita Salters (2005-08) for eighth in career total blocks, now sitting with 373.
- Robinson’s 16 kills also match a career high, it’s a total she has reached twice before in her career. The senior also led the team with a .433 hitting percentage
- The Tennessee offense was disciplined all night, committing just six unforced (unblocked) attacking errors. Conversely, the Gamecocks had 28 errors with Tennessee recording 12 total blocks.
- Camilla Covas finished the night with a career-high 20 digs. She is the first Gamecock to reach 20 digs in a match since Addie Bryant against Maryland on Sept. 19, 2019.
The two sides will square off again in less than 24 hours for Carolina’s fall road finale. Saturday’s match will be on the SEC Network+ with a 5 p.m. first serve.