Gamecocks Clinch Invitational Title with Sweep of UNC Asheville|
Aug. 25, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Gamecock outside hitters Juliette Thévenin and Bethanie Thomas had a huge night, leading South Carolina (4-0) to a 25-16, 25-22, 25-16 win over UNC Asheville (0-4) in front of 667 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility to cap a perfect opening weekend for the Gamecocks.
Thévenin posted 14 kills and eight digs in the win, hitting .440 in the process, while Thomas had a .474 percentage with 10 kills and eight digs. Those two helped the team post a .419 hitting percentage, the best of the weekend. Senior setter Taylor Bruns had 22 assists and 10 digs, leading the way in both categories. Three Gamecocks, redshirt sophomore Cara Howley, redshirt freshman Christina Vereb and freshman Darian Dozier, tied for top honors with three block assists. Junior libero Paige Wheeler had eight digs and three aces.
Christine Lakatos led the Bulldogs with eight kills. Rachel Wells added eight digs.
The Gamecocks posted a 25-16 win in the first set behind a .593 hitting percentage for the team. A four-point run bookended by a Megan Kent kill and block assist made it 12-8, and South Carolina never looked back. The other four-point run featured Dozier, as he had a block assist and her first career kill in the stand that made it 22-12. Thévenin led the way with seven kills in the frame. Joining Dozier on the court was freshman Litsa Darby, who posted her first two career assists.
South Carolina used a seven-point streak to take a 15-8 lead in the second. The Bulldogs fought back, getting to within one on a couple of occasions, but the sophomore Thomas ended the second set like she did the first, with a kill. Thévenin had five kills to lead the way again. The Gamecocks played five freshmen in the frame, with Dozier and Elizabeth Johnbull starting the frame in the middle and Maddie Frome also coming on during the frame to join first-weekend regulars Jenna Allen and Christina Vereb. Johnbull recorded her first kill as a Gamecock.
The third set swung on a 7-1 South Carolina run keyed by three Thomas kills, putting the Gamecocks up 15-10. That run continued, with a 10-4 stand ending the contest at 25-16. Bruns landed an ace to cap it. Thomas had six of her kills in the final frame.
Sotuh Carolina tied with UNC Asheville in blocks, but the Gamecocks won all the other stat categories, including a 51-29 kills advantage.
Howley claimed the tournament MVP award, while Wheeler and Vereb earned all-tourney nods. Joining the team was East Tennessee State's Megan Devine and Meredith Hardy, Akron's Tina Demetrius and Temple's Elyse Burkert.
South Carolina hosts the Slovenian National Team in a free exhibition on Wednesday night at the VCF. First serve is set for 7 p.m.