South Carolina Drops Four-Set Decision at Winthrop
Sept. 4, 2010
by Koby Padgett
ROCK HILL, S.C. - The South Carolina Gamecocks (0-6) fell in another closely-fought contest, this a four-set affair to Carolina Challenge host Winthrop (2-4), 25-21, 22-25, 22-25, 23-25, on Saturday evening at the Winthrop Coliseum.
Freshman Cara Howley had 15 kills, six digs and five blocks in the contest, while senior Megan Laughlin added 14 kills. Freshman Juliette Thévenin had 13 kills and seven digs. Senior libero Hannah Lawing had 16 digs in the contest. A trio of Eagles posted double-digit kills, including Becca Toor (13), Sara Felts (11) and Kaley Viola (10). Viola added 15 digs, with Kelsey Harrison posting a match-best 20 digs. Kristin Cruse put together 10 digs. Toor added six blocks.
South Carolina drew first blood, taking the opening set, 25-21. The big run for the Gamecocks came late, as a six-point stand that included an ace from Frankie Vain and a Thévenin tip for a kill put Carolina on top, 20-16. Winthrop drew within one after a three-point string, but the Gamecocks got to set point after a three-point run that included a kill and a block assist by Teresa Stenlund. After an Eagle point, Laughlin ended the frame with her fifth kill. She hit .500 in the first.
Winthrop gained the win in the second set, 25-22, but it was not without some heartburn. The Eagles took control after it was tied 5-5, capturing 11 of the next 14 points to make it 16-8. A later three-point run that included two Winthrop blocks got the home team to set point at 24-17. But South Carolina fought, staving off five set points before Felts had her attack graze the Gamecock block to end the set at 25-22. South Carolina hit .050 in the second, helped by four Eagle blocks.
The third set looked to be all for the Eagles after a long six-point run early. The advantage grew to 13-4 after a pair of kills from Brittany Blackman closed a three-point run. The Gamecocks chipped away at the lead, first at 13-7 then 15-10 after a pair of Howley kills. A pair of Laughlin kills forced a Winthrop timeout at 20-16. The Eagles got to set point at 24-19 after a Toor tip found the floor. South Carolina made it close again with three-consecutive points, but Carolyn Weed ended it with her fourth kill of the set. The Eagles were credited with 21 kills in the frame, hitting .409. The Gamecocks hit .317, with Howley's six kills leading the way.
The squads battled back and forth in the fourth set, holding the lead for most of the frame until Winthrop put together a five-point run to take a 23-20 lead. The Gamecocks came back to tie it, but the Eagles' Toor put down consecutive balls to end the frame and match at 25-23. Both Toor and Viola had four kills in the set, while Viola added eight digs.
The Eagles out-hit the Gamecocks and had more kills, digs and blocks. South Carolina won the assists and aces battle.
Lawing earned her second all-tournament nod of the year, making the Carolina Challenge's team. Clemson won the tournament with a five-set victory over College of Charleston in the first match Saturday evening.
South Carolina hosts the Gamecock Invitational starting Friday, Sept. 10 at the Volleyball Competition Facility. The Gamecocks face South Carolina State at 10 a.m. to open the two-day event that also includes Furman and Lipscomb.