Volleyball Drops Road Opener at North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – South Carolina (3-1) dropped its road debut Friday night, losing 3-0 at North Carolina (2-2). The Gamecocks weren’t able to keep pace with the Tar Heel attack, getting out-killed 48-31 while allowing the home side to hit .374. Four different hitters finished with five or more kills for South Carolina, led by Riley Whitesides’ eight.
1st SET: The Gamecock offense struggled out the gate, the offense was unable to put a ball down early in the first and North Carolina’s block at the net came on strong late in a 25-11 score for the Tar Heels. The home side recorded five of its seven total blocks in the set over the final eight combined points, but also recorded 18 digs. McKenzie Moorman led the Gamecocks with three kills, but the defensive advantage would be too much to overcome.
2nd SET: South Carolina was able to regain its rhythm on offense in the second, but it was the service game that made the difference in a 25-23 second set final in favor of the Tar Heels. North Carolina ended the set with three aces and no errors behind the line, while South Carolina was not able to drop in an ace but committed three errors.
Ellie Ruprich led the offense with three kills and the Gamecocks as a unit hit an efficient .333 for the set, but the service line advantage made the difference. The team made a late push, using a pair of blocks from Oby Anadi and big kills from Riley Whitesides and Moorman for a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 24-23, but the Tar Heels were able to close out the game for a 2-0 lead.
3rd SET: The Gamecocks weren’t able to build off the momentum at the end of set two, as North Carolina converted seven kills in its first eight points to run out to an 8-2 lead and would not look back in a 25-16 final to close the match. The Tar Heels finished with a 19-7 advantage in kills and out-hit South Carolina .500 to .148.
Head Coach Tom Mendoza
“We are a good team but we need to play to our potential every time we take the court and we fell short of that tonight. We need to learn from it as a group and make changes quickly because we are on the road again tomorrow. This is one of the best groups I’ve had as far as chemistry and playing hard for each other, which makes matches like tonight hurt more, but I trust them to handle it and respond appropriately.”
The Gamecocks stay in-state, now traveling to Wake Forest for a 7 p.m. match against the Deacons on Saturday. Coverage can again be found on ACCNX.