Volleyball Loses at Clemson in Five Sets
CLEMSON, S.C. – South Carolina (3-3) dropped a six-game win streak to Clemson (5-2) with a 3-2 loss on the road Tuesday night. The Gamecocks had three hitters in double figures for kills and received career nights from Lauren McCutcheon (19 kills) and Jenna Hampton (31 digs) in the defeat.
1st SET: A solid defensive effort in the opening game was overshadowed by a slow start by the offense for South Carolina. The Gamecocks committed 11 attack errors in the game, more than Clemson’s kill total for the set (10). Lauren McCutcheon was a highlight, putting away five kills on nine swings, but the rest of the offense combined for six kills and nine errors. The Tigers repelled a Gamecock rally late to turn a 20-18 lead into a 24-19 advantage to claim the opening set.
2nd SET: The second game was all about Gamecock libero Jenna Hampton. The defensive wizard was sublime, recording 11 digs in the set to keep rallies going and give the offense more chances. Clemson grabbed a comfortable lead early, but the Gamecocks leaned on Hampton to claw and scratch their way back into the set and eventually earned its first lead of the set at 13-12.
From that point on the two sides locked into a battle; there would be eight ties and five lead changes the rest of the way. In a 20-20 game, South Carolina used a pair of McCutcheon kills to get a 3-1 burst that provided the crucial cushion. Janna Schlageter came in cold off the bench in a 24-22 game and served tough, forcing a Clemson overpass that Riley Whitesides put away for the winning kill. Thanks in large part to Hampton’s effort on the back line, the Gamecock offense almost doubled their kill total from set one (11) to set two (20).
3rd SET: The Gamecocks were on the wrong side of a late run in the third, giving up an 8-1 run at the end of the third set for a 25-23 loss to fall behind 2-1 in the match. South Carolina used a 9-2 run early to build an 11-6 lead and carried at least a two-point lead all the way up until Clemson’s run at the end. Unforced errors hurt the offense most, with eight total attacking errors despite just two total blocks from Clemson. The Tigers’ back line defense was also stout, finishing the game with 19 digs.
4th SET: A pair of blocks from Kiune Fletcher and Ellie Ruprich sparked a 9-3 early run that flipped the score in South Carolina’s favor at 11-7 and forced an early timeout from Clemson. All told, the Gamecocks had four blocks in their first 14 points to push away early, but the Tigers rallied again and cut the lead to 18-17. Out of a Gamecock timeout, the team went on a 5-2 run capped by a Whitesides service ace to get the lead stretched back out for good in a 25-21 win to force a fifth set.
5th SET: The Gamecock offense just could not put a ball away in the fifth, losing the kill battle 9-3 to Clemson and committing four attack errors in a 15-8 set score to end the match. The Tigers went up quickly, 6-2, and South Carolina would get no closer than two points the rest of the game.
- Jenna Hampton finished with 31 digs in the match, the most by a Gamecock since Oct. 13, 2019 when Addie Bryant had 35 at Arkansas. Including Bryant, only two other Gamecocks in the last nine seasons have more digs in a match than Hampton.
- Hampton’s 31 digs are tied for the fifth-most by a Gamecock in a five-set match in the rally-scoring era and is a new personal best for the graduate student.
- Lauren McCutcheon’s 19 kills are a new personal best; the sophomore entered Tuesday with a career high of 15.
- Clemson’s 15 total blocks is tied for the most by a Carolina opponent dating back to 2014.
South Carolina is back home this upcoming weekend, hosting Cincinnati for a pair of matches. The first meeting with the Bearcats will be Friday at 5 p.m., followed by a rematch on Saturday at 1 p.m. Both games will air on the SEC Network+.