Dixon Helps Serve Up a Road Sweep for South Carolina
The Gamecocks totaled 10 service aces and enjoyed a strong offensive showing against the SEC's top defense
AUBURN, ALA. – A dominant night behind the service line sparked South Carolina volleyball to a key road victory late Wednesday night, sweeping Auburn (13-11, 5-9 SEC). The Gamecocks enjoyed a career-high seven aces from Mallory Dixon, a double-double from Kyla Manning and a team-high 14 kills from Riley Whitesides. The win moves the team to 14-11 overall and 6-9 in SEC play.
SET ONE: Auburn jumped out to a big early lead, but a key service run by Dixon helped the team swing momentum in a 25-23 victory to open the match. The Tigers led 12-8 when Dixon took over on serve, racking up three aces in what ended up as a 6-0 run for South Carolina. The offense was powered by a three-woman attack, Manning ended with six kills on just nine swings to lead the team but she was followed close behind by Whitesides (five kills) and Lauren McCutcheon (four).
SET TWO: Dixon continued to harass Auburn’s passers to kick off set two, notching two more aces in a 6-0 run from the jump. She also was clicking with her hitters, accounting for eight assists among South Carolina’s 12 total kills in the set and the offense finished hitting at a .385 percentage. Whitesides, Ellie Ruprich and McKenzie Moorman each finished the set with three or more kills and no errors committed as the Gamecocks led wire-to-wire in a 25-13 final.
SET THREE: Both sides were swinging away in the final game, each team went for 15 kills on offense but the Gamecock defense proved to be the difference-maker in a 25-22 score that clinched the sweep. The combination of Manning and McCutcheon ended up with 13 of the team’s 22 digs in the set, while at the net freshman Oby Anadi picked up a pair of emphatic blocks. South Carolina used a 6-2 run to break out of a 12-12 tie, with four unforced errors by Auburn fueling that game-changing streak, and the Gamecocks would not lead by less than two points the rest of the way.
- The victory guarantees a fourth-straight season with a .500 or better record. The program’s last streak of that length was from 1999-2002.
- Auburn entered the match with the 11th-lowest hitting percentage allowed to opponents this season – a SEC-best .149. South Carolina ended the match with a .262 hitting percentage with 15 attack errors over 107 swings.
- Thanks to Dixon’s big night behind the service line, the Gamecocks finished with 10 total aces in the match. It’s the third time reaching double figures for aces this season; as a comparison, the team had just four matches with 10 or more aces from 2007 to 2018.
- Individually, Dixon’s seven aces is the third-highest total for a game of any length in the program’s 49-year history. Only Lori Rowe (9 on 10/29/83), Megan Hosp (8, 9/7/02) Cally Plummer (8, 10/10/01) and Amy Collinsworth (8, 9/6/1991) have more aces in a single match. The graduate student’s previous career-high for aces was five, against Texas A&M on Feb. 10, 2021.
- Riley Whitesides’ 14 kills are tied for the most in a three-set match this year for the Gamecocks and her 41 attacks are a season high for her personally.
- Kyla Manning notched her seventh double-double of the season with 10 kills and a team-high 16 digs. That dig total matches her career best, set previously on Sept. 3 this season against UCF.
- The Gamecock defense racked up 53 digs in the match, that is the third-highest total for a game of any length in SEC play so far this season.
- Ellie Ruprich’s five blocks led all players Wednesday night, it is the eight time this season that the sophomore totaled five or more blocks in a match.
The team will have a chance to rest up on its bye week, with 10 days before it heads to Florida for a two-game series Nov. 20-21 against the Gators.