Volleyball Upsets No. 25 Missouri to Cap Weekend Action
Manning and Whitesides combine for 37 kills in the win
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A full team effort helped South Carolina volleyball (10-6) upset the 25th-ranked Missouri Tigers (11-5) Saturday afternoon. The Gamecocks used 37 combined kills from Kyla Manning and Riley Whitesides, a double-double from Courtney Weber and six blocks from Ellie Ruprich to get the win and snap a three-game losing streak.
SET ONE: The opening game had all the dramatics, with the two teams trading eight leads with 18 ties in what would end up a 30-28 win for South Carolina. After being buttoned up in Friday’s opener game against the Tigers, Manning and Whitesides set the tone early, with manning hitting .500 with seven kills and Whitesides adding six of her own. Neither side found much footing, but it would be Missouri with the first set point chance at 24-23. A service error denied them, and after set point chances at 28-27 and 29-28 the Gamecocks were able to close out thanks to a kill from McKenzie Moorman.
SET TWO: The Tigers made quicker work of set two, hitting .500 as a team to win 25-20 and even the match up. Manning was able to continue producing, adding five more kills, but the rest of the offense combined to hit just .142.
SET THREE: Each side looked to the third for the key advantage and another tough fight came out in favor of South Carolina, a 25-23 final pushed the home side ahead 2-1. Whitesides (six kills and Ruprich (three kills, two digs and a block) helped the Gamecocks push back after Missouri went ahead 12-9 early. Still trailing at 16-14, a quick 3-0 run behind the serve of Weber helped flip the scoreboard and the Tigers were unable to take the lead again down the stretch. In a 23-all tie, a service error and attack error for Missouri gave South Carolina a 2-1 lead.
SET FOUR: Seeing victory within sight, South Carolina left no doubts in the final game, out-hitting Missouri .435 to .185 in a 25-18 final to clinch the upset. The Gamecocks would not trail once, getting multiple kills from four different hitters and using a pair of Ruprich blocks to spark the team’s energy. The freshman middle not only had a solid day at the net, she had a career day behind the service line with a pair of aces in the fourth.
- The day was won behind the service line. South Carolina had six aces and six errors, while Missouri had just two aces and a whopping 14 errors on serve.
- Courtney Weber had her strongest day of the season, totaling 12 digs, 17 assists and an ace in the team’s two-setter offense.
- After this weekend, Ruprich moved into the single-season top-10 for most blocks in SEC play. The freshman now has 72 total blocks over 16 matches.
- With his win, Tom Mendoza earned his 50th victory at South Carolina. He is the fastest coach in program history to 50 wins, reaching it in 78 matches. Kim Williams (226 wins) and Bonnie Kenny (171), the two program leaders in career wins, reached 50 in 86 and 82 matches, respectively.
Head Coach Tom Mendoza on the team’s energy after the win
“I was just happy for them, they needed something positive after going through the challenges that people have been going through this year. This has been about as tough of a week as I can remember coaching, just having people dealing with illness and being in quarantine and isolation, being away from their friends and family. We’re trying to do everything we can to keep our students safe. Credit our medical staff and our athletic training and everything but it’s tough. I feel for them and I have a lot of respect for what our student-athletes are going through. I’m incredibly happy for them, that they were able to have some sort of light at the end of the tunnel of this week.”
The team hosts its final two home games of the 2020-21 season next weekend, welcoming in Ole Miss for games on Saturday, Feb. 6 and Sunday, Feb. 7. Both games have a 2 p.m. start and will air on the SEC Network+.