Gamecocks Sweep Bearcats in Weekend Finale
COLUMBIA, S.C. – After a show-stopping performance from its defense less than 24 hours prior, it was South Carolina’s offense that led the way Saturday in a 3-0 victory over Cincinnati (1-7). The Gamecocks (5-3) hit .486 as a team but also added eight aces and nine more blocks in arguably their most complete win of the season to date. McKenzie Moorman (11 kills) and Riley Whitesides (10) again led the attack, both also hitting above .400 in the match.
1st SET: While both teams finished with solid numbers on offense, South Carolina used a big run early to run off a 25-18 set win. Dalaney Hans and Camilla Covas teamed up for an 11-1 run behind the service line, with Hans getting two aces. McKenzie Moorman led the offense in the opener, converting six kills on 10 swings and the Gamecocks as an offense hit .464.
2nd SET: The defense found similar success to what it had Friday night, totaling five blocks in the second set to hold Cincinnati to just eight kills with eight errors in a 25-14 rout. With a 5-4 lead early, Covas again enjoyed a long stay behind the line, picking up two aces in what became a 12-0 run to blow the game open. The team didn’t need all that much on offense, but got perfect games from Ellie Ruprich (three kills on three swings) and Kiune Fletcher (four kills on four swings) and hit .478 as a unit.
3rd SET: Hans and Covas did it again in the third, each picking up an ace during an 11-2 run that opened the game and South Carolina would never look back in a 25-14 victory for the sweep. Six different hitters recorded a kill in the set and five others had two or more digs, which helped to hold the Bearcat offense to just a .176 hitting percentage on 34 swings.
- South Carolina’s .486 hitting percentage for the game is the second-highest for a match under head coach Tom Mendoza, behind only a .494 clip against High Point on Sept. 18, 2021.
- The Gamecocks had five hitters with five or more kills, none of them hit worse than .400.
- Camilla Covas and Dalaney Hans led the serving group with three aces each; Covas had just two aces total over 33 sets played in the 2021 season but now is up to eight this fall with just seven errors. Hans matched her career high for aces on Saturday, previously set in the weekend opener against the Bearcats.
- The team finished with eight service aces and just three errors behind the line; it’s a season high for aces and a season low for errors.
- Ellie Ruprich added seven more blocks on Saturday, coming off nine in Friday’s opener. The junior already is at 40 total blocks just eight games into the season.
- Kiune Fletcher was an efficient 7-for-9 on swings Saturday, not committing a single error. The junior now has 50 kills this fall, already more than she had in her first two seasons combined.
Head Coach Tom Mendoza on the team’s serving success in the match
“We had quite a few rotations that were really putting pressure on them, especially for a team that likes to get the ball to their middles as much as Cincinnati does. When we can serve as aggressively and consistently as we served today, it makes it hard to do that. That’s the way that we can put pressure on, you get them out of system and our block and our defense get a chance to set up. It’s just the way we envision being able to score points on serve, obviously it’s not always going to go as well as it did today but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
The Gamecocks head back out on the road for the final two games of the non-conference seasons. The team travels south to Coral Gables to play against host Miami on Friday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. and then Oregon on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Hurricanes were receiving votes and Oregon was ranked No. 18 in the latest national coaches top-25 poll. The match against Miami will air on the ACCNX.