Gamecocks Pick Up Ranked Win on Day One of Home Tournament
The team defeated No. 15 Pepperdine Friday and play two more times Saturday
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina split two Friday duals against ranked opponents to open its Gamecock Grand Slam tournament, defeating No. 15 Pepperdine in the morning and losing to No. 5 LSU to end the day. The Gamecocks are now 5-5 for the year with two more duals still to play on Saturday.
The Gamecocks were strong on all five courts, dropping only a three-set matchup on court four in the morning opener with the 15th-ranked Waves. Kaeli Crews and Hannah Mackenhausen got the team started with a 21-13, 21-15 sweep at the fives, overcoming a big early deficit in the second set to get Carolina on the board. Pepperdine countered with the wins at the fours and appeared to gain momentum early with first-set wins on courts one and two in the second wave of matches.
South Carolina battled back, pushing ahead 2-1 thanks to a 21-17, 21-18 win by Abby Carroll and Jillian Gleason on court three. On top of that, both the No. 1 and No. 2 pairs rallied to force third sets for the Gamecocks. Lauren Wilcock and Jordan Smith provided the dual-clinching point on court two, going into extra points in the third for a 18-21, 21-14, 21-19 victory. Court one wrapped up the dual with a 18-21, 21-17, 15-10 victory on the top court for the 4-1 final margin.
In the evening against the Tigers, the team had similar opportunities in the opening wave of duals but weren’t able to capitalize. Crews and Mackenhausen won their first set at the fives but dropped the next two, and a sweep for LSU on court four put Carolina in a 2-0 hole.
Needing to win all three matches in the second wave, the Gamecocks had a little daylight early with a first-set win on court one and leads at two and three, but LSU closed up those chances and clinched the team victory with a sweep at number three. Skylar Allen and Whitley Ballard provided the team’s lone point with a convincing 21-16, 21-17 win on the top court.
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- Friday was South Carolina’s first win over Pepperdine in four chances. The Gamecocks came just shy of beating the Wave on its home sand in March of 2020, the last meeting between the two sides.
- The win over Pepperdine is the first top-15 win of the season, the last coming on Feb. 28, 2021 (No. 11 Stetson)
- Whitley Ballard won her first career match at the No. 1 position, it was also the senior’s 20th career win. She now has a win at all five positions in her time at South Carolina.
- Jordan Smith’s win at No. 2 vs. Pepperdine was the 15th victory against a ranked opponent in her career. That total ranks eighth in program history. Smith returned to the lineup after missing all of last weekend’s duals at TCU.
- On the exhibition court, Hailey Cabeceiras and Kennedy Westendorff won their match vs. Pepperdine in three sets and Nicole Deobler and Courtney Weber lost to LSU.
- Jillian Gleason and Abby Carroll’s 33-31 loss in the first set of their match vs. LSU was the highest-scoring set the team has had so far this season and is longest since a 34-32 loss by Skylar Allen and Katie Smith vs. Georgia State on April 10 of last season.
- Skylar Allen’s win with Ballard at No. 1 vs. LSU marked her third win over a top-5-ranked team dating back to last season.
Head Coach Moritz Moritz
I was happy with the energy we came out with, and I think the excitement of being home translated to our energy playing against a team we’ve had opportunities to beat in the past but just couldn’t quite get over the hump. We played really well, it was fun to watch the girls compete in that way.
LSU’s a really good team but I believe we left some things on the table tonight that maybe could’ve turned the tide and had we taken advantage of them. There are a lot of things to be excited about with this team. We have a roster full of kids who are hungry and ready to compete, so at any given moment someone has to be ready to step in and step up. We’re not even remotely close to as good as I believe we can be, but where we are now in our third weekend is a good spot. Obviously, we would like to have a few more wins under our belt, but the way we’re developing now is going to pay off down the line.
The Gamecocks play against ULM at 11 a.m. and Mercer at 5 p.m. on Saturday to wrap up the weekend’s slate. The Warhawks defeated the Bears and lost to Pepperdine on day one of action, Mercer lost to LSU along with the loss to ULM Friday.
No. 19 South Carolina 4, No. 15 Pepperdine 1
1. Skylar Allen/Whitley Ballard (SC) def. Paul, Melanie/Shields, Madison (PEP) 18-21, 21-17, 15-10
2. Jordan Smith/Lauren Wilcock (SC) def. Thomas, McKenna/Priebe, Simone (PEP) 18-21, 21-14, 21-19
3. Abby Carroll/Jillian Gleason (SC) def. Sinclair, Mary/Quintero, Juju (PEP) 21-17, 21-18
4. Frohoff, Rio/Baklenko, Cameron (PEP) def. Sophie Manson/Peyton Gray (SC) 21-18, 14-21, 15-12
5. Hannah Mackenhausen/Kaeli Crews (SC) def. Clermont, Kate/Benoit, Jordan (PEP) 21-13, 21-15
Ex. Hailey Cabeceiras/Kennedy Westendorff (SC) def. Lewis, Peyton/Greene, Savana (PEP) 21-17, 19-21, 15-5
Order of finish: 5,4,3,2*,1
No. 5 LSU 4, No. 19 South Carolina 1
1. Skylar Allen/Whitley Ballard (SC) def. Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope/Bella Bauman (LSU) 21-16, 21-17
2. Kylie Deberg/Parker Bracken (LSU) def. Jordan Smith/Lauren Wilcock (SC) 21-17, 21-18
3. Holly Carlton/Reilly Allred (LSU) def. Abby Carroll/Jillian Gleason (SC) 33-31, 21-14
4. Kelli Greene-Agnew/Grace Seits (LSU) def. Sophie Manson/Peyton Gray (SC) 21-16, 21-17
5. Ellie Shank/Sierra Caffo (LSU) def. Hannah Mackenhausen/Kaeli Crews (SC) 19-21, 21-15, 15-11
Ex. Lara Boos/Allison Coens (LSU) def. Nicole Deobler/Courtney Weber (SC) 22-20, 21-13
Order of finish: 4,5,1,3*,2