Volleyball Loses at LSU
BATON ROUGE, LA. – South Carolina volleyball dropped to 8-12 overall and 2-9 in SEC play after a three-set loss at LSU (9-11, 4-6) on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers out-hit the Gamecocks .326 to .092 and finished with a 39-25 advantage in kills. South Carolina’s offense was led by Alayna Johnson, who hit .429 with seven kills.
1st SET: South Carolina struggled with its first contact in the opening game and the offense lagged as a result, with LSU limiting it to just six kills in a 25-15 win. After a slow start of its own, LSU pushed away with a 9-1 run to turn a 13-12 lead into a margin the Gamecocks could not close. Alayna Johnson accounted for two of the teams kills and added a service ace to finish as top scorer for the Gamecocks.
2nd SET: The Tigers turned up the pressure behind the service line in set two, recording five service aces to take a 2-0 lead, winning 25-13. The Gamecock offense finished with more errors (7) than kills (6), but were able to draw within one, 13-12, despite a 7-0 start to the set for LSU. The Tiger closed definitively, though, scoring 12 of the final 13 points for the set win.
3rd SET: The home side had another big opener in the third, using five kills to build a 9-2 lead and draw an early timeout from South Carolina. The offense got a boost from turning back to Johnson, who recorded four kills in the team’s first six points and helped start the team’s slow-but-steady comeback efforts. Down 16-12, the Gamecocks were able to work it back to 20-20 with the breakthrough coming off a 4-0 service run behind the line by Ellie Ruprich, with a pair of Riley Whitesides kills scoring on the stretch. A later Whitesides kill gave the team a 22-21 advantage, its first lead since it was 11-10 in the first set, but LSU scored the match’s final four points in a 25-22 win.
- South Carolina’s .092 hitting percentage is the second time this season dipping under .100, the previous low being .018 at Arkansas on Sept. 22. The team’s 25 total kills are also the second-lowest of the season, also behind the Arkansas road match.
- The defense’s two total blocks are the fewest in a match since Nov. 23, 2018 (at Florida). Senior Ellie Ruprich recorded zero blocks while playing in a full match for the first time since March 13, 2021 of her freshman year, also against LSU.
- LSU recorded 10 aces in the three sets, including five in the second set alone. It is the third time this season a Gamecock opponent finished with double-digit aces, after not allowing it once in 2022.
- South Carolina’s back line finished with 26 digs, the fewest in a match since Nov. 5, 2021 (vs. Kentucky)
The Gamecocks have a busy weekend ahead with two matches in the friendly confines of the Carolina Volleyball Center. The team opens next weekend with a Friday night match at 7 p.m. against No. 15 Kentucky, the third matchup against a ranked opponent in the last four games. Friday will also be the program’s Alumnae Night, with over 20 former Gamecocks coming home to Columbia.
The weekend wraps up on Sunday at noon with a rematch against Ole Miss. That will be the team’s Senior Day, where seniors Caitlin Crawford, Kiune Fletcher, Ellie Ruprich and Riley Whitesides will be recognized before the match.