Gamecocks Fall in First Match of the Season, 3-0, to Arizona State
Aug. 29, 2008
TEMPE, Ariz. - South Carolina fought hard in its first match of the season, but Arizona State was just a little tougher, as the Sun Devils got a 3-0 victory in the first session of the ASU Sheraton Classic on Friday afternoon at Wells-Fargo Arena.
Ivana Kujundzic led the Gamecocks with nine kills, while libero Sarah Cline had a team-best 12 digs. Sarah Reaves led the Sun Devils with 16 kills and 16 digs, while Sara Todorovich compiled a .615 (9-1-13) hitting percentage in the game. Sarah Johnson had 13 digs, while Margie Giordano added 10 digs. Paige Middelstaedt had four blocks to lead both teams.
In the first set, Arizona State got out to an 8-4 lead before the Gamecocks captured five of the next six points to tie up the match. A Megan Laughlin ace and a Belita Salters spike after an overpass by the Sun Devils helped South Carolina make the run. But the tie did not last, as ASU answered with five of six, including two kills and a block by Todorovich, to get the 14-10 lead. The Garnet got within two on a back-row kill by Hannah Lawing. The teams swapped sideouts until 19-17, when the Sun Devils got a three-point run to stretch their lead to five. The Gamecocks closed to within three before kills by Middelstadt and Reaves got ASU to set point. Kujundzic extended the frame with her kill, but Sonja Markanovich closed it out at 25-20 with her smash. Reaves had seven kills and three digs to lead the Sun Devils, while Todorovich was a perfect 4-for-4.
The Sun Devils ran away with a 25-17 win in the second set. A five-point run by Arizona State opened up the gap to 11-5, while later three-point swings made it 17-8 and 22-12. After ASU got to set point, the Carolina Gamecocks kept the frame going with back-to-back kills by Megan Laughlin, but Todorovich ended the set with her third kill of the frame. Giordano was the defensive hero for the Sun Devils, making five digs and adding a solo block in the frame. Laughlin and setter Bridget Denson-Dorman combined to hit .777 in the second, but the team managed just a .083 mark in the frame, hurt by nine attack errors. Cline had 10 digs in the second set alone.
Arizona State got an early 8-4 advantage on a revamped Gamecock lineup after consecutive kills by Mittelstaedt, but the Gamecocks cut the lead to one at 12-11 after a block by Laughlin and redshirt freshman Tory Anderson. Reaves would go on a run of her own, getting the next four points on three kills and a block to make it 16-11. A hitting error by South Carolina made it 17-11, but the team would rebound. Kills by Kujundzic and Moorhead and a block by Anderson and Moorhead closed the gap to 17-14. After a Sun Devil block, Moorhead got a kill and combined with Anderson on a block to get within two. After an Arizona State error and timeout, the Gamecocks had a service error and a set error ahead of Mittelstaedt's kill to push the ASU lead to 21-17. After the squads swapped sideouts, South Carolina went on a three-point run to make the score 22-21, thanks to a Salters kill and a block by Salters and Laughlin. But a Sun Devil kill, a Gamecock hitting error and a Marina Mercer spike gave the Sun Devils a 25-21 set three win.
The Gamecocks face Dayton at 5 p.m. MST to start the second session in the ASU Sheraton Classic.