South Carolina Takes Down UAB in Four Sets
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Gamecocks (10-0) kept their undefeated record in tact with a four-set win over UAB (5-5), 23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 26-24, on Saturday in the Volleyball Competition Facility.
Redshirt sophomore Cara Howley posted a career-best 17 kills on a .429 hitting percentage while she tied two other Gamecocks with three block assists. Junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin posted 20 kills and 13 digs in the win, leading the Gamecocks in kills. Freshman middle blocker Darian Dozier also had three block assists while making a season-best 10 kills. Senior setter Taylor Bruns dished out 54 assists, landed eight kills and made eight digs, and redshirt freshman outside hitter Christina Vereb posted eight kills and three block assists. Junior libero Paige Wheeler compiled 21 digs, leading all players, and added a career-best seven assists, while senior Christina Glover added 10 digs.
Sam Serley led UAB with 19 kills on a .708 hitting percentage and four blocks. Ally Slaughter added 2 kills and nine digs, while Michele Simmons contributed 10 kills. Rachel Fairbanks had 18 digs.
Both teams looked a little slow in the first set, a 25-23 Blazer win. UAB started with a five-point run, but the Gamecocks fought back, tying it at 9-9 on a four-point stand that included kills from sophomore outside hitter Bethanie Thomas, Bruns and Thévenin. UAB went back on the attack, growing the lead back to five at 20-15 after a three-point stand helped by two Gamecock errors. South Carolina drew within one when Howley put one away on an overpass, but the Blazers clinched it three points later on Sam Skinner's fourth kill of the set. Serley was 7-for-7 on swings in the first, helping UAB to a .444 hitting percentage, while Fairbanks had six digs.
The second set started like the first with UAB owning a 5-1 lead, but the Gamecocks had a seven-point skein to take control of the set, 12-7. The Blazers would only get as close as two points the rest of the way, as South Carolina started to get its offense going, posting a .306 hitting percentage in the set. Bruns ended the frame with her fifth kill on eight tries. Wheeler made 11 of her digs in the set, and Howley joined Bruns with an errorless hitting second set, landing four kills.
UAB held a 3-0 lead in the third after a Slaughter ace, but it would be the last lead that large until the end of the frame. A South Carolina four-point string swung the momentum to the Gamecocks at 14-12, but the Blazers would tie it not long after at 16-16, one of 10 ties in the third. A Dozier kill sparked a three-point streak for the Gamecocks that put them up 23-20. Howley ended the set with consecutive kills, giving her six in the frame. The Gamecocks hit .444 in the third, with Thévenin making seven kills to lead the way. Both Dozier and Vereb had errorless sets, making three and four kills, respectively.
The fourth set came down to the wire, as UAB had the first chance at set point at 24-23. Howley helped fight that off with a kill, tying the frame at 24-24. Two Blazer attack errors gave the Gamecocks the 26-24 match-clinching win in the fourth. Thévenin had seven more kills in the frame, while Thomas had four on nine swings without an error. Glover made seven digs.
South Carolina won the kills (68-63), assists (66-58) and digs (61-54) categories, while UAB held narrow advantages in blocks (8-7) and aces (3-2). The Gamecocks only made three service errors in the contest.
The Gamecocks close out the Carolina Clash at 7:30 p.m. against Winthrop in the Volleyball Competition Facility.