Gamecocks Split Opening Day Doubleheader
The team swept No. 20 FGCU but lost to No. 19 Stetson to close the day
DELAND, FLA. – South Carolina beach volleyball opened its spring season on Friday with a pair of duals against nationally ranked opponents at the Stetson Spring Fling. The Gamecocks opened the weekend with a 5-0 sweep of No. 20 FGCU but fell to the host Hatters in the second dual, 4-1.
Playing for the first time with five new pairs and five individuals making either their first or second collegiate start, the Gamecocks made a strong start to the weekend with a sweep of FGCU in the morning dual. South Carolina moved fast, securing the team win with straight-set wins in the fourth, fifth and second pairings. Senior Jordan Smith and freshman Lauren Wilcock provided the clinching point with a 21-13, 22-10 win at No. 2 and Skylar Allen and Alyssa Keller overcame a first-set loss to win the No. 1 pairing in three sets to finish off the 5-0 decision.
In the afternoon, the Gamecocks came up on the wrong side of a close matchup with No. 19 Stetson, falling 4-1 with a pair of losses in three sets. The teams split the first two matches, with Whitley Ballard and Hannah Mackenhausen cruising to a 21-16, 21-13 win at No. 5 but the Hatters countering with a sweep of the fours. Stetson swung momentum with first-set wins in the first three pairs as the second wave began, but South Carolina countered by forcing a decisive third set at numbers one and two. The Gamecocks needed to win both to clinch the team win, but the Hatters would end up winning 15-12 on both court for the final 4-1 margin.
The Gamecocks wrap up the first weekend of action with two afternoon duals on Saturday. First is a noon matchup against College of Charleston, followed by a 4 p.m. dual with Mercer.
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- Earning their first career wins Friday were Sophie Bengoechea, Peyton Gray, Sophie Manson and Lauren Wilcock.
- Senior Whitley Ballard had a solid opening day, going 2-0 at No. 5 with teammate Hannah Mackenhausen. They were the first two wins for Ballard since her freshman season in 2019, when she went 13-6.
- With a straight-set win over No. 20 FGCU, Jordan Smith moved up to eighth in program history for career wins vs. ranked opponents, with 14.
- Sammy Ansel and Abby Carroll competed in the exhibition pairing for both duals. The two won in straight sets vs. FGCU and split sets against Stetson.
No. 18 South Carolina 5, No. 20 FGCU 0
1. Allen/Keller def. Garder, Kirstine/Carpenter, Jacqueline (FGCU), 19-21, 21-17, 15-12
2. Smith/Wilcock def. Parmelly, Maddison/Johnson, Kacie (FGCU), 21-13, 22-20
3. Gray/Manson def. Hamilton, Lexie/Burnam, Snowy (FGCU), 21-12, 21-17
4. Bengoechea/Crews def. Hansen, Emma/Luebbers, Kaitlyn (FGCU), 21-18, 21-13
5. Ballard/Mackenhausen def Richmond, Elizabeth/Beisner, Shelby (FGCU), 21-14, 21-17
Order of finish: 4,5,2*,3,1
No. 19 Stetson 4, No. 18 South Carolina 1
1. Shae Henson/Kylie Neuschaeferova (Stetson) def. Allen/Keller, 21-12, 16-21, 15-12
2. Carolina Ferraris/Anete Namike (Stetson) def. Smith/Wilcock, 21-19, 15-21, 15-12
3. Karin Zolnercikova/Gabriella Bramante (Stetson) def. Gray/Manson, 21-16, 21-17
4. Lauren Della/Colene Hamilton (Stetson) def. Bengoechea/Crews def. Hansen, Emma/Luebbers, Kaitlyn (FGCU), 21-19, 21-11
5. Ballard/Mackenhausen def Audrey Gauthier/Noelle Weintraub (Stetson), 21-16, 21-13
Order of finish: 4,5,3,2*,1