Ruprich Reaches Milestone in Friday Match vs. No. 10 Arkansas
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Senior Ellie Ruprich became just the eighth woman in program history to reach 400 career blocks thanks to a five-block night against No. 10 Arkansas Friday evening, but the Gamecocks (8-11, 2-8 SEC) fell in four sets to the Razorbacks (19-3, 9-1 SEC).
1st SET: Arkansas came in blazing hot to open the match, hitting .424 in the set on the way to a 25-19 win. The visitors went without a single attacking error until a Gamecock block made it 24-19. The South Carolina offense played well, hitting .294 with four kills from Alayna Johnson and five from Campbell Paris, but Arkansas was able to side out on 15 of 20 possible chances to limit any chance of an impactful rally.
2nd SET: Led by Ruprich, South Carolina’s defense found its footing in set two and helped even the match with a 30-28 win. Ruprich had a pair of solo blocks – including her 400th career block – in the team’s first 11 points and the Gamecocks forced an early timeout after taking a 12-7 lead. South Carolina led comfortably until the home stretch, when Arkansas scored an 8-1 run to take a 25-24 lead. The Gamecock staved off set point chances at 25-24 and 28-27, using a kill from Johnson to tie the score. Fittingly, the clinching point came off Ruprich’s third solo block of the set, coming at 30-28.
3rd SET: South Carolina had a prime opportunity to seize momentum against the tenth-ranked Razorbacks, but gave up a late lead in a 26-24 loss to push Arkansas back ahead. It was a grind offensively for both sides, the two teams had just 20 kills and 18 errors combined, with Arkansas’ blocking defense making the difference late in a set that featured nine lead changes. The visitors recorded six of their seven blocks in the set from point 13 on, including back-to-back blocks to rob the Gamecocks of set point chances at 24-22 and 24-23.
4th SET: Arkansas’ back line of defense was key in the definitive set, using 15 team digs with three more blocks to limit the Gamecocks to just nine kills in a 25-21 victory for the match. All told, there would be 14 ties and six lead changes, but the Razorbacks would be too tough to slow down in the stretch run. After South Carolina took a 15-14 lead into the first break of the set, Arkansas scored three of the next four to take the lead back for good. The Gamecocks threatened with a service ace by Claire Wilson to make it 20-20, but Arkansas answered with four unanswered points to shut down the rally.
- Ruprich is just the third woman in the modern scoring era (since 2001) to reach 400 career blocks. The previous Gamecocks were Darian Dozier (2012-15) and Mikayla Robinson (2017-21).
- All five of Ruprich’s blocks were solo stuffs, moving her up to 93 for her career. She trails Mikayla Robinson by two solo blocks for the rally scoring era record.
- The five solo blocks for Ruprich are the most by a Gamecock in a four-set match since Stephanie Pflughaupt against Rice 37 years ago (10/18/1986).
- The Gamecocks set a single-season home attendance record, with 722 in attendance Friday that pushed the season total to 19,240 fans making their way to the team’s 10 home games to date. With four more home games still to come, the team surpassed the previous record of 18,797, set during the 2018 season.
- Arkansas’ 11 service aces are the most allowed by South Carolina since Sept. 10, 2021 (12 vs. Santa Clara).
- With 12 kills Friday night, senior Riley Whitesides now has double-digit kills in seven of the last eight matches.
- Freshman Campbell Paris led the team with 13 kills, she has cracked 10 or more kills in four of the last six matches.
The Gamecocks close the month of October out in Baton Rouge, for a Sunday afternoon match at LSU (8-11, 3-6 SEC) on Oct. 29, scheduled for 2 p.m. ET. LSU hosted No. 15 Kentucky Friday night.