Gamecocks Drop Road Match at Texas A&M
The team will have a road series at Missouri next Thursday and Friday
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – South Carolina volleyball dropped its opening road game of SEC play at Texas A&M (9-3, 2-0 SEC) on Sunday afternoon. The Gamecock offense had its second-lowest output of the season, with 34 kills and a .152 hitting percentage. The team moves to 9-3 overall and 1-1 in the opening week of SEC play.
SET ONE: Mental miscues for South Carolina buoyed Texas A&M early, as the home side had just five kills in its first 15 points but received eight points directly off unforced errors from the Gamecocks (five unblocked attack errors, two service, one setting) to grab the lead. Neither team were able to run away with the set, but three errors in a row late for Carolina pushed the Aggies ahead 21-18 and the home side carried it to the 25-22 win. Ellie Ruprich shined on both offense and defense, leading the team with four kills on five swings while also adding three blocks (two solo), but the rest of the offense combined for eight kills and seven errors on 30 swings.
SET TWO: While the offense continued to find its footing, South Carolina’s defense powered the team early in the start of the second. Four blocks helped the Gamecocks jump out to a 17-13 lead, but the Aggies used a 3-0 run to cut the lead back to one. While South Carolina’s block started the set strong, it was the A&M block that ended the set strong, getting its only three blocks in the set in a five-point span that turned a 20-18 lead for South Carolina into a 23-21 deficit from which the Gamecocks could not bounce back in a 25-22 final.
SET THREE: Texas A&M used a big run early in the set to take the momentum, carrying it to a 25-18 final to close the match. A Lauren McCutcheon ace made it a 7-5 lead early for South Carolina, but the Aggies proceeded to score 10 of the next 12 points to take the lead for good. The Gamecocks had its lowest kill total of the match, with nine, hitting .147 compared to 16 kills and a .250 hitting percentage for the home side.
- The Gamecocks were able to control A&M’s dynamic 1-2 punch of Lauren Davis and Morgan Christon, who each entered the day averaging over 3.50 kills per set but combined for 14 kills on 48 swings with nine errors.
- Kyla Manning left no zeros in her box score, totaling 10 kills, seven digs, three blocks, two aces and an assist.
- Ellie Ruprich finished with seven blocks (two solo) for the game, the most by a Gamecock in a three-set match so far this season. It’s also a new season high for the sophomore middle.
- Sunday marked the first game this season where the Gamecocks lost a match where they recorded more aces and blocks than their opponent.
- Over the three sets, the team committed 23 unforced errors – 11 unblocked attack errors, seven service errors, three setting errors and two blocking errors. By comparison, Texas A&M had 15.
- Sunday marked just the second time this season the team hit under .200 in a match – the previous time came against Pittsburgh on Aug. 28.
The Gamecocks will continue with road games in week two of conference play and play in their first series of the fall. South Carolina travels to Missouri for matches on back-to-back nights against the Tigers, with a 7:30 PM ET match Thursday night and a 8 PM ET rematch Friday. Thursday will be on the SEC Network+, Friday will be national on the SEC Network.