Gamecocks Control Tigers in Sunday Sweep
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina limited its errors and benefitted with a three-set sweep of Missouri (7-7, 0-4 SEC) on Sunday, the team’s first sweep since Sept. 10. The Gamecocks (9-6, 3-2 SEC) improve to 8-1 this season at home and will finally have a chance to rest after finishing a flurry of five conference matches in just eight days.
1st SET: South Carolina led off the match with what would end up being its best of the day, hitting .394 as a team with 15 kills in a 25-16 rout. The Gamecocks broke away early, using a 5-0 behind the service of Claire Wilson to take an 8-3 lead, Missouri would get no closer than four points the rest of the set. Freshman Alayna Johnson showed no sign of nerves in her first start as a Gamecock, putting down a team-high four kills and libero Jenna Hampton set the tone for what would be a historic game for her with seven digs in the first.
2nd SET: The second set would be competitive throughout, but South Carolina’s six blocks in the frame and just one attacking error on offense would be too much for Missouri in a 25-20 score to push the Gamecocks to a 2-0 set lead. The Tigers led 9-7 early, but three blocks from South Carolina in a span of four points swung the momentum to the home side and gave the Gamecocks a 15-12 lead. Missouri would trade points but never could find the run it needed as South Carolina held the Tigers at arm’s length to wrap up set two.
3rd SET: The visitors weren’t content to go quietly in the third, the final set featured 17 ties and nine lead changes before the Gamecocks came away with the 25-23 win and the sweep. The two sides tied each other at every point from 16-16 up until 23-23. Moorman provided the winning points on back-to-back kills, her fifth and sixth of the set, to secure the win in three.
- Jenna Hampton piled up 23 digs in the three sets, it is the seventh-highest total for a three-set match in the program’s 49-year history. The last Gamecock with more was Hannah Lawing against Clemson on Sept. 3, 2010, the last Gamecock with more against a SEC opponent was Kori Ermigarat against Kentucky on Oct. 20, 1995.
- Now just five games in to the conference schedule, Hampton has 102 total digs and is averaging 4.64 per set. The graduate student had 52 digs in the eight sets this weekend vs. Missouri.
- Freshman Alayna Johnson made her first start Sunday and finished with seven kills and four digs, highlighted by a first set with four kills and no errors.
- The Gamecock serve receiving group had it’s best day of the season by far, allowing no aces to Missouri for the match. It’s the first time since Sept. 21, 2018 against Mississippi State that South Carolina was not aced one time.
- McKenzie Moorman finished with a game-high 12 kills while hitting .429. It is the senior’s fifth game in a row with 10 or more kills and the fourth time this season with 10 or more kills with a hitting percentage north of .400.
The team will head back on the road for a weekend series at Tennessee next Saturday and Sunday. The Volunteers were on a bye this past weekend and have a mid-week game at home against Florida on Wednesday before hosting South Carolina. Tennessee is 8-7 overall and 2-1 in conference play, with wins over Missouri and Texas A&M.