Gamecocks Roll in Non-Conference Finale
The offense hit .494 over the three-set sweep of High Point Saturday
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina volleyball played perhaps its most complete game of the season Saturday afternoon, dominating High Point (8-5) with a 25-11, 25-11, 25-22 sweep. The Gamecocks completed the non-conference portion of the season with an 8-2 record and will begin SEC play on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at home against Georgia. Three Gamecocks reached double figures for kills, led by 11 for Mikayla Robinson. On defense, South Carolina held the Panthers to a .141 hitting percentage and just 25 total kills for the match.
SET ONE: A big run early behind the serve of Morgan Carter set the tone for South Carolina in the opener. The freshman dropped in a pair of aces in a 7-0 run that made the score 8-2 for the Gamecocks early and the home side never looked back. Lauren McCutcheon and Kyla Manning each had four kills to lead an offense that had 15 kills with just one error for the set. On the other side of the net, High Point had just five kills total and committed five errors
SET TWO: The defense ratcheted up its game in the second set, keying a second 25-11 final margin thanks to four blocks and a .050 hitting percentage allowed to the Panthers. McCutcheon and Ellie Ruprich each had a solo stuff and joined together for another block, High Point ended with just six kills in the game versus five errors. The offense needed just 13 kills but did so with a hitting percentage of .545, and three different Gamecocks added an ace behind the service line. McCutcheon and Camilla Covas sparked an 8-1 run late in the set, High Point got no closer than four points at any point after falling behind 5-1 at the start of the set.
SET THREE: South Carolina was able to work in its reserves in the final game, getting a game-high 18 kills while hitting .400. Nine different Gamecocks recorded a kill in the set, led by four each from Robinson, McCutcheon and Manning. High Point had its best showing of the afternoon, totaling three more kills (14) than it had in the first two sets combined (11). Along with its game-high 18 kills, South Carolina also had a game-high 18 digs from the defense, with six individuals putting up two or more digs.
- South Carolina’s .494 hitting percentage as a team is the seventh-highest success rate in the program’s 49-season history (based on available records). The team committed four attack errors over 85 total swings and those four errors came from High Point blocks.
- Two of the team’s kill leaders – Mikayla Robinson and Kyla Manning – hit .667 and .588 for the game, respectively.
- High Point’s 25 kills are tied with Kennesaw State for lowest by a Gamecock opponent this season. The last opponent to have less than 25 kills in a match is Albany (Sept. 8, 2019).
- The Gamecocks dominated the serve game, finishing with eight aces compared to just one for High Point. Morgan Carter had a season-best three aces and Mallory Dixon added a pair to lead the team. High Point came in to the week ranked 50th in the country for team aces.
- Emmy Rollins made her collegiate debut and clinched the win with her first career kill in the third set.
Head Coach Tom Mendoza on the team’s efficient afternoon against High Point
For me it wasn’t just about the score or the hitting percentage, it was the style of play. We were doing the types of things with our swings that we that we work on and we preach. Zero attack errors that weren’t High Point getting a block, that’s great to see and exactly where we need to be right now. High Point is a good team, a well-coached team, but when we play at a high level I think we can beat anybody.
With the non-conference behind them, the Gamecocks will stay home for the conference opener. South Carolina hosts Georgia at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22 for a game that will air nationally on the SEC Network. Courtney Lyle and Missy Whittemore are on the call.