March 3, 2018
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. - The South Carolina beach volleyball team opened up competition at the UNF Beach Invitational with a pair of wins on Saturday. The ninth-ranked Gamecocks defeated UNCW (1-1) and No. 17 FAU (2-4) by 4-1 margins, running their season record to 5-1.
In the morning session, South Carolina squared off with conference rival UNCW, and earned an quick 2-0 lead after sweeps from Leah Perri and Macie Tendrich in the fours pair (21-15, 21-18) and Hannah Edelman and Franky Harrison in the fives (21-12, 21-19).
Cadie Bates made her first career start count, as she and teammate Katie Smith sealed the win with a convicing 21-15, 21-6 win in the twos pair that clinched the dual win. Julia Mannisto and Carly Schnieder followed with a 21-18, 21-11 win in the threes to give South Carolina the 4-1 win.
Exactly one week removed from their last meeting with FAU, a 3-2 win at the Stetson Spring Fling, the Gamecocks found themselves in another dogfight with the Owls on the beaches of St. Augustine. The two sides split three-set affairs in the opening wave, with Tendrich and Perri winning 21-11, 16-21, 15-10 in the fours, and FAU taking the fives.
The Owls grabbed momentum in a big way to begin the second wave, taking the first sets in the top two flights. Though South Carolina went ahead 2-1 in the dual after another sweep from Schnieder and Mannisto, the Gamecocks had to forge a big rally to avoid the upset.
Both of the top two pairs would force third sets, and Shannon Williams and Ali Denney provided the clinching point with a 19-21, 21-17, 15-7 win in the number one flight. Bates and Smith closed out the dual with a win at number two, coming back from a 21-16 loss in the first set to sweep the next two, 21-15, 15-10.
Day two of the tournament will feature a pair of challenging matches for Carolina. First up is a 11:30 a.m. dual with #13 Georgia State, who knocked off sixth-ranked LSU and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday. The Gamecocks close the weekend at 3:30 with a match against the host UNF Ospreys, who lost a pair of tight battles with FAU and LSU on day one.
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