Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+
Volleyball Closes Home Schedule With Ole Miss Series
Women's Volleyball  . 

Volleyball Closes Home Schedule With Ole Miss Series

The Gamecocks play the Rebels Saturday and Sunday, both are 2 p.m. start times

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina volleyball will host Ole Miss (1-13) for a pair of matches this weekend, the final two home games for the Gamecocks in this 2020-21 season. The team is coming off a big upset of No. 25 Missouri last Saturday, moving its season record to 10-6. Both matches against the Rebels will begin at 2 p.m. and air on the SEC Network+.

South Carolina freshman Riley Whitesides was celebrated earlier this week as the SEC Freshman of the Week for her efforts in that win over Missouri. She helped South Carolina snap a three-game losing streak by hitting .316 with 18 kills in the team’s 3-1 upset of the Tigers. Overall in the series split with Missouri, Whitesides led the Gamecocks with 28 total kills over the seven sets. Through the team’s 16 SEC games to date this year, Whitesides’ 179 total kills is the second-most in conference matches by a Gamecock freshman in the last decade, tied with Mikayla Shields, and she shares the SEC lead for total kills by a freshman with Arkansas’ Taylor Head. Her 179 kills is currently tied for the seventh-most by a freshman in the NCAA’s Division I.

The team enjoyed a pair of impressive milestones in the four-set win over No. 25 Missouri on Feb. 27, starting with senior Mikayla Robinson reaching 400 career total blocks. She finished with five total over the two-game series, making her the seventh Gamecock in program history to move past 400 blocks – the first since Darian Dozier in 2015. Robinson and Dozier are the only Gamecocks in the last 24 years to hit the mark, Robinson needs another 26 blocks over the final six regular season games to match Dozier’s total that ranks fourth in program history (427).

The second milestone was for head coach Tom Mendoza, who hit 50 wins as the program’s leader last Saturday. He did so in just 78 games, making him the fastest coach in program history to hit 50. Hitting the tail end of year three in Columbia, Mendoza won 20 games in his first two seasons and won a NCAA tournament game as well in 2018 and 2019. The team is two wins away from snapping another significant streak; already with 10 SEC wins South Carolina can match the 2008 and 2000 Gamecock squads for most SEC wins in a season if it can reach 12.

Coming to town this weekend is Ole Miss, which is under the direction of first-year head coach Kayla Banwarth. The Rebels are learning on the fly with a first-time head coach and a core of young talent, coming in at 1-13 but took down LSU on the road for its first win of the season last time out. It’s a well-balanced attack for Ole Miss, which lost major pieces in Emily Stroup (431 kills, 308 blocks) and Nayo Warnell (207 kills and 106 blocks) from last season. Currently, three individuals have 120 or more kills, highlighted by true freshmen Sam Schnitta and GG Carvacho ranking first and third, respectively, in the category. This spring, the Rebels saw a third freshman step into a major role, as Sasha Ratliff leads the team with 35 total blocks despite playing in just eight total matches.

Individually, a number of Gamecocks are quickly climbing the charts for single-season records for conference-only matches. Entering Saturday, Ellie Ruprich already has 72 blocks in SEC play, ranking her seventh-most overall dating back to 2001. Robinson sits sixth for highest single-season hitting percentage in SEC play, currently at .324, and also ranks fifth for most solo blocks. Kyla Manning is just 19 total kills away from entering the top 10 for most in a conference season, Mallory Dixon is just outside the top 10 for single-season assists and service aces, and Camilla Covas is also just shy of the top 10 for aces.

For more information throughout the weekend and updates during the matches, follow @GamecockVolley on social media.