Aug 30, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin delivered a 20-kill performance on Friday night to lead the Gamecocks to a sweep of Florida International by the scores of 25-12, 25-22 and 25-14 in front of a crowd of 1,058 at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
A native of Mont-sur-Marchinne, Belgium, Thévenin finished Friday's two Gamecock Invitational matches with a combined 32 kills as she climbed to seventh on the career kills list at South Carolina with 1,156. As a team, the Gamecocks hit above .300 for the second-straight match, posting an attack percentage of .327.
The Gamecocks improve to 2-0 on the season, as they also defeated South Carolina State earlier in the day. South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson was pleased with what he saw from his young squad during both matches on Friday.
"I thought we started off really well this morning," Swanson said. "Really the building blocks of what every coach preaches to their team is serve tough and pass well, and I felt like we did that in both matches. It allowed us to play great defense and block some balls. It also allowed us to run the type of offense that we wanted to run and spread the ball around. I was really, really proud of how we served and passed and how we played together as a team."
Thévenin came up just shy of a double-double, finishing with seven digs. Sophomores Darian Dozier and Sarah Blomgren and freshman Dessaa Legros added seven kills apiece in the win, while sophomore setter Kellie McNeil dished out a match-high 32 assists. Junior Michaela Christiaansen and freshman Gabrielle Rubeis produced 13 and 11 digs, respectively.
Outside hitter Ksenia Sukhareva led Florida International with seven kills, while setter Ashlee Hodgskin dished out 20 assists.
Thévenin helped the Gamecocks jump out early in the first set as she delivered four kills to help build a 7-3 lead. South Carolina pushed its lead 12 points late in the set, as an Elizabeth Johnbull kill gave the Gamecocks a 24-12 lead. Legros followed with a kill of her own to finish off the set.
The second set had a much different feel as the teams battled back and forth. After playing to a 10-10 tie, South Carolina went on a 7-3 run to build a 17-13 lead. The Panthers fought back to tie things at 18 and later on at 21, but the Gamecocks claimed the win with a 4-1 run. Thévenin came through with 10 of her 20 kills in the second frame.
The Gamecocks erased any hope of a comeback with a dominant third frame, hitting .478 as a team. South Carolina built a 15-4 lead on its way to clinching the sweep with a 25-14 win.
South Carolina returns to action at home on Saturday in the final game of the Gamecock Invitational. The Gamecocks are slated to take on High Point at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth 17 and under.
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