Gamecocks Drop Conference Opener to No. 12 Florida
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (6-5, 0-1 SEC) opened the conference season with a 3-1 loss to No. 12 Florida (10-2, 2-0 SEC) on Saturday afternoon. McKenzie Moorman led the team with 14 kills and Oby Anadi sparked the defense with seven total blocks.
1st SET: Florida’s offense was locked in right from game one, the Gators converted 18 kills on just 29 total swings to win set one 25-18. The Gamecocks jumped ahead 7-2 early thanks to some miscues from the visitors, but two big runs gave Florida the push it needed to recover. First was a 6-0 run to erase that 7-2 Gamecock lead, then another 6-0 run to break an 11-all tie.
2nd SET: It was a shootout in set two, the two team’s defenses combined for just two blocks and 15 digs with Florida out-hitting South Carolina .500 to .423. The Gamecocks fell behind early and that would be key as the two sides traded points for almost the entire set. Kills from Riley Whitesides and Anadi followed by a Whitesides service ace drew the Gamecocks within one, 18-17. A second 3-0 burst would finally get Carolina level with Florida, 22-22, but the Gators scored the final three points to win the set.
3rd SET: The late momentum in the second set helped South Carolina dominate the must-win third, 25-16, with Anadi leading the way with her net defense. The sophomore had a hand in all five of the team’s blocks in the set, helping hold Florida to just nine kills and a .115 hitting percentage. Conversely, the Gamecock offense would have their best effort of the day in the third, hitting .370 with 15 kills with six different players recording two or more kills.
4th SET: The offensive efficiency that extended the match for South Carolina would not carry into the fourth. The Gamecocks had 12 attack errors – nine of which were unforced by the Gator block – and Florida closed the match with a 25-19 win. After being buttoned up for most of the afternoon, Whitesides provided the team’s bright spot with six kills on just eight swings to account for almost half of the team’s kill total.
UP NEXT: The two teams match up again Sunday at 2 p.m. with the match on the SEC Network+. Follow @GamecockVolley on Twitter for updates on the team.