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Gamecocks Outlast UCF to Cap Perfect Home Weekend
Women's Volleyball  . 

Gamecocks Outlast UCF to Cap Perfect Home Weekend

Volleyball moves to 5-1 for the season

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gamecock volleyball completed a perfect home weekend with a 3-1 win over UCF (2-4) Friday night. South Carolina was able to hold off the Knights in a rematch from Thursday evening and moved to 5-1 for the season. Kyla Manning posted a double-double with 16 kills and 16 digs in the win, Mikayla Robinson also hit double-digit kills with 10 while also adding five blocks.
SET ONE: The Gamecocks earned the win in the opening set, pulling away for a 25-19 score that was deceptive of the competitive level on the court. There were five ties early, but Carolina was able to get some breathing room thanks to a 3-0 run that included an ace from Mallory Dixon and a block from Ellie Ruprich and Kiune Fletcher that pushed the home side’s lead to 19-15 and UCF would not threaten again. Four Gamecocks had multiple kills in the set, led by Kyla Manning’s five kills to go with four digs. Mikayla Robinson chipped in three kills and also added two solo blocks in the set.
SET TWO: An incredible individual effort from sophomore Riley Whitesides made all the difference in set two, as her eight kills in the game helped South Carolina overcome a late deficit to win 25-20 and take a 2-0 lead. UCF grabbed a 9-5 lead early, but three consecutive kills from Whitesides helped tie the score back up at 9-9. Trailing 14-13, South Carolina used the tough service of Camilla Covas to key a 6-1 run that gave it the lead back for good. In the run, Robinson posted a pair of blocks and Covas also added her first ace of the season.
SET THREE: The Knights took the first set South Carolina lost all weekend in the third, coming out with a 25-21 decision from a shootout. There were 10 ties and seven lead changes in the game, but the Gamecocks just weren’t able to slow UCF’s offense. The visitors totaled 19 kills and hit .333 as a team, using a 10-5 run to break a 13-all tie and extended the match to a fourth set. 
SET FOUR: The home side leaned heavily on Manning to take it home in the fourth; the two teams grinded to 10 ties and three lead changes and UCF threatened late to make it a five-set affair before Whitesides and Lauren McCutcheon carried the team home behind the service line. South Carolina held a 16-13 lead at the midpoint of the set, but fell victim to a 5-0 run by UCF that flipped the scoreboard. 
The Knights were first to 20 points, forcing a Gamecock timeout with a 20-17 margin, but after siding out they were able to get a run behind Whitesides’ service and scored four unanswered points to take back the lead. Manning’s 16th kill of the night made it 23-22 for Carolina, and McCutcheon set the team up for match point with her second ace of the match. With UCF threatening to push the set beyond 25 points, Robinson slammed home her 10th and final kill on a slide to clinch the win.
Head Coach Tom Mendoza on the rematch with UCF
We know UCF has a good team, it’s a well-coached team, they didn’t feel like they played as well as they could have last night… we knew how good they are and how good they’re capable of playing and I think you saw that today. There was some high-level volleyball for a large majority of the night. The team that was winning the serve and pass battle was just putting their attackers in better situations and that was reflected by the scores. I love the resiliency and to battle a good team… and get to go back and forth like that was exciting. It was exactly what we were expecting out of UCF and what we’re hoping to get.

After the first two weekends came in the friendly confines of the Carolina Volleyball Center, the team will venture out for its first road trip next week. South Carolina will play two matches at the KSU Challenge, hosted by Kennesaw State, coming Sept. 9-10. The weekend starts against the host Owls at 7 p.m. Thursday night, then the Gamecocks face Santa Clara Friday at 4 p.m.