Gamecocks Sweep Gardner-Webb Behind Frankie Vain's 10 Kills
Sept. 2, 2011
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Another stellar performance from sophomore middle blocker Frankie Vain propelled South Carolina (4-0) to a sweep of Gardner-Webb (1-2), 25-13, 25-20 and 30-28, in the Gamecocks' first match in the Gamecock Invitational on Friday afternoon at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
Vain led the squad with 10 kills on a .529 hitting percentage and three block assists. The 10 kills matches her career high, while she's topped her previous-best hitting percentage twice already in 2011. Sophomore libero Paige Wheeler added 15 digs for the match high. Sophomore outside hitter Juliette Thévenin saw her double-double streak end, but she managed to post nine kills and eight digs. Freshman outside hitter Bethanie Thomas tallied seven kills and nine digs, while redshirt freshman Cara Howley added six kills without an error. Sophomore setter Taylor Bruns posted 35 assists and five kills.
Heather Feldman and Lauren Evans both had 13 digs for the Bulldogs, who were led in kills by Molly Rhyne's nine.
The Gamecocks took the first set in dominating fashion, 25-13. Vain tallied five kills in the frame, including two unassisted kills in the first three points that forced a Bulldog timeout. Twice, South Carolina put together five-point runs, the final putting the squad to set point. The final span started with a block from Vain and Thomas and continued on kills by Thomas and classmate Hanna Forst. The Gamecocks hit .294 for the set, and four players had three or more digs in the frame.
Gardner-Webb had control of the second set for a while, holding as large as a five-point advantage at one point. But South Carolina made a big stand at the end, taking 10 of the final 12 points to claim the 25-20, set-two win. The final three Gamecock points came on kills from Thévenin and Bruns and a Lindsey Craft ace. Wheeler had six digs in the frame, while middle blockers Vain and senior Teresa Stenlund both added three kills without making an error.
An extremely tight third set went the Gamecocks' way in the end. No team had a lead of more than three in the frame, which came at 23-20 after the Bulldogs claimed five of six points. South Carolina fought off two Bulldog set points to tie things at 24-24. Gardner-Webb had one more set-point try before the Gamecocks had the momentum tip their way. Kills by Thomas and Thévenin put the Gamecocks to the first of their four match points. A Bulldog attack error ended the frame at 30-28 and the match. Thévenin, Thomas and Howley had four kills each in the final frame, while Wheeler added another six digs.
South Carolina led the match in kills, assists, digs and blocks, while Gardner-Webb held a slight advantage in aces.