Gamecocks Fire Past Akron in Three-Set Sweep|
Aug. 24, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Behind the one-two punch of outside hitters Juliette Thévenin and Bethanie Thomas, South Carolina (2-0) hit .382 and raced past Akron (1-1) in three sets, 25-19, 25-13, 25-19, in front of 502 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
Thévenin led all attackers with 10 kills while adding seven digs on the night. Thomas posted nine kills without an attacking error to go with 12 digs, two block assists and two aces. Junior libero Paige Wheeler led all players with 17 digs. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Cara Howley hit .636 with seven kills and two block assists.
Tina Dimitrijevs led the Zips with eight kills and three blocks. Jill Paluch added 13 digs.
South Carolina claimed the first set 25-19, hitting .423 in the frame. Getting out to a 9-3 lead, the Gamecocks had two kills from Thomas and a kill and an ace from Thévenin. After kills from redshirt freshman Christina Vereb and Howley, the Zips called time down 16-10. Akron had one three-point run, with one coming on Chelsea Harvey's ace, before the Gamecocks closed the set on junior Megan Kent's overpass finish and Thomas's deep shot. The Gamecocks hit .423 in the first set.
The second proved to be about South Carolina's defense, as the Gamecocks took the set 25-13. Wheeler had nine of her digs in the frame, helping to keep Akron's hitting percentage to .025. An 18-6 stretch broke it open, and Thomas finished the frame with her second powerful kill in four points. She had four kills, six digs and two block assists in the frame.
Both teams cranked up the offense in the third set, with the Gamecocks taking the frame 25-19. South Carolina kept Akron from getting consecutive points on only two occasions. Thévenin's fifth kill of the set proved to be the penultimate point, as an Akron error closed the frame. Both teams hit .333 in the frame, with the Gamecocks posting two more kills and two aces more than the Zips.
The Gamecocks won most statistical battles, only tying in blocks and assists.
The Gamecock Invitational presented by Courtyard Marriott concludes on Saturday with five more matches. The Gamecocks compete at 3 p.m. against East Tennessee State and at 8 p.m. versus UNC Asheville.