Late Rally Turned Away in Road Loss at Missouri
COLUMBIA, MO. – Gamecock volleyball closed out week one of SEC play with a four-set loss at Missouri (9-4, 1-1) Sunday afternoon. South Carolina (6-5, 0-2) fell behind early and the Tigers held off a late charge to clinch the match. Alayna Johnson and Oby Anadi shared the team lead for kills with 12 apiece and Morgan Carter led the defense with 20 digs.
1st SET: The match started with the two sides trading the lead back and forth, with Missouri using three service aces to score early and the Gamecocks countering with three blocks in their first 10 points. The Tigers found the first big run of the afternoon with six unanswered points to break a 10-all tie and cruised to a 25-15 win. South Carolina’s offense started fast in the set, with three kills in its first four points, but finished with just four kills and six attacking errors from that point on and finished with a 13-7 deficit in kills.
2nd SET: Junior Oby Anadi got South Carolina started with three kills in the team’s first five points of set two, and the Gamecocks would lead for most of the early game. Missouri squared things up as the scores moved to double figures at 10-10 and the teams again would battle point-for-point. The Tigers repeated with the critical run late, though, using a 7-0 stretch to break an 18-18 tie and closed out a 25-18 win for the 2-0 set lead.
3rd SET: The Gamecocks would again be the first team to 15 points in the third set, using a clean offense to go ahead 15-12 before the first break of the set. South Carolina put away eight kills with just one error to account for half of those 15 points, with four different attackers contributing at least one kill. An overpass kill from Anadi got the team to 20 points for the first time in the match, for a 20-18 lead, but Mizzou answered with three points in a row to push back ahead.
The teams traded off kills with a pair coming from Alayna Johnson, the second tying the score at 23, and the sophomore would run back to help clinch the set behind the service line. She dropped in her second ace of the day to make it a 24-23 lead for Carolina and nearly had another ace, instead forcing a Missouri free ball over that the Gamecocks converted into the clinching kill in a 25-23 win.
4th SET: Missouri used a pair of blocks and service aces to run ahead 10-4 to start the fourth. The Gamecocks were able to play out the set all square, but the early deficit would not be overcome in a 25-22 final that clinched the match win for the Tigers. South Carolina put together a 5-0 run down the stretch, which included a pair of kills each from seniors Ellie Ruprich and Riley Whitesides, that made it a 19-18 deficit. The rally peaked after a kill and block combo on back-to-back points for Anadi made it 21-all, but Missouri scored the next three points and closed out the match.
- South Carolina’s offense hit .040 with 17 kills in the first two sets but rallied to hit .367 with 17 and 18 kills in the third and fourth sets, respectively.
- Oby Anadi matched her career high for kills, with 12, giving her three games with 10+ kills this season. Anadi went 44 matches before recording her first double-digit kill performance, but now has three in her last eight matches.
- Alayna Johnson shared the team lead for kills with Anadi, her 12 marks the fourth career match in double figures for the sophomore. Three of those four matches with 10+ kills have come in games where Johnson was not in the starting lineup.
- Along with her kill total, Johnson also matched a career high with three service aces, highlighted by the critical one in set three.
- Morgan Carter ended her weekend with 20 more digs, giving her 36 total over the seven sets at Arkansas and Missouri. The junior libero now has three 20-dig matches in the month of September.
- The team’s two middles (Anadi and Ellie Ruprich) and two right side hitters (Kiune Fletcher and Campbell Paris) combined for 33 kills and a .329 hitting percentage.
- South Carolina’s 18 kills in the fourth set alone matched the team’s total over three sets at Arkansas Friday night.
- Missouri doubled up South Carolina in service aces, 10-5. It is the first time since Oct. 20, 2021 (at LSU) that the Gamecocks allowed 10 or more aces.
A seven-game road trip will finally come to an end next weekend, not before one final dip out west for the Gamecocks. The team starts week two of SEC play at Ole Miss on Friday night, then returns home for the first time since Sept. 3 with a Sunday afternoon match against Florida.