Gamecocks Drop Non-Conference Finale
ROCK HILL, S.C. – South Carolina volleyball lost in four sets at Winthrop Saturday night. The Gamecocks were out of sync offensively, hitting only .156, with Alayna Johnson’s 12 kills leading the way. The Gamecocks end the non-conference season with a 6-3 record.
1st SET: In a sign of things to come, Winthrop (1-10) jumped out to an 8-2 lead to start the match, but South Carolina battled back with a 14-6 run to take the lead back for good. In that run, Johnson would be the key piece on offense, recording all five of her kills in that span. Defensively, the Gamecocks were able to rally thanks in large part to the work of Morgan Carter in the back row. The junior libero finished the set with 10 digs.
2nd SET: The Eagles came back strong in the second set, using four service aces and three blocks to stifle Carolina and win 25-14. The Gamecocks only finished with a 13-10 deficit in kills, but allowed Winthrop to hit .312 offensively and countered the four aces and three blocks with just one block and no aces.
3rd SET: South Carolina appeared ready to regain the set lead after a strong start to set three, but let the lead slip away late in a 27-25 loss. A pair of big solo blocks from Kiune Fletcher and Ellie Ruprich sparked a 7-2 start to the set, and South Carolina carried a multi-point lead for most of the set. Winthrop started its rally from an 18-13 deficit, scoring 10 of the next 14 points to take the lead for the first time in the set. After denying set point chances at 24-23 and 25-24. Winthrop used a Gamecock serving error and a block to end it.
4th SET: The Eagles broke away from a 5-5 tie with another 10-4 run early in set four, riding the advantage to a 25-21 win to clinch the match. The serve and block games would again be a key factor, with the home side picking up three more aces and three more blocks compared to one apiece for South Carolina.
Conference season opens with a road trip out west. The Gamecocks face Arkansas on Friday, Sept. 22 for a 7 p.m. ET first serve against the Razorbacks. The team then heads up to Missouri to cap the weekend with a 2 p.m. match at Missouri.