Gamecocks Outlast College of Charleston in Five
Sept. 10, 2011
by Koby Padgett
CHARLESTON, S.C. - South Carolina (8-1) won the first two sets and survived a comeback threat from College of Charleston (3-5) to claim a five-set victory, 25-12, 25-22, 20-25, 19-25, 15-12, on Saturday afternoon at TD Arena.
Many Gamecocks set new career highs, including four matching or bettering their best in kills. Sophomore outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led four Gamecocks with double-doubles, setting a personal best with 23 kills while adding 19 digs. Freshmen outside hitters Hanna Forst (12 kills, 15 digs) and Bethanie Thomas (10 kills, 16 digs) also had double-doubles as well as junior setter Taylor Bruns (59 assists, 14 digs). Senior middle blocker Teresa Stenlund recorded 11 kills to match her career best, while sophomore middle blocker Frankie Vain had 13 kills, her personal best. Sophomore libero Paige Wheeler posted a career-best 31 digs in the victory.
Sarah Havel, Madelyn McGinnis and Sloane White all had 14 kills for the Cougars, while Elyse Chubb added 13. Kallie McKown had 56 assists and 16 digs, while Emily Shelton added 21 digs. Hayley Harrell and Kelly Kolich both posted 18 digs.
The Gamecocks exploited an advantage in the middle to take the first, 25-12. The first lead came at 6-3 with three-consecutive kills from Vain. Two Forst aces made it 9-4, closing out the second of four three-point runs by the Gamecocks. The frame ended on a four-point skein, capped by Stenlund's fifth kill of the set. The Garnet and Black had 22 digs compared to 13 for the Cougars, while the Gamecock middles hit 8-0-10 in the set.
South Carolina ran out to a 6-0 lead, thanks in part to two Thévenin kills to start, in the second before College of Charleston fought back to make it 9-6. The Cougars drew to within one at 17-16 after a three-point run followed not long after by back-to-back kills. But South Carolina responded with kills from redshirt freshman outside hitter Cara Howley and Thévenin to move the lead back out to three. A three-point run bookended by Thomas points put the Gamecocks to set point, where Charleston made a stand. But Thomas came back to put one away down the line for the 25-22 set-two win. Thévenin and Thomas both had six kills while Thomas added a solo block in the frame.
College of Charleston came back to take the third set, 25-20. Numerous lead changes came in the frame, with the teams posting runs of five by the Cougars and four by the Gamecocks early. C of C put some space between the two teams with a six-point stand to make it 18-14. The lead grew to 22-17 after the Cougars got back-to-back points twice compared to once by the Gamecocks. White ended the frame with her fifth kill, tops for the Cougars in the third. Thévenin had six kills and just one error for the third. Bruns and Wheeler both had seven digs in the third.
The fourth set tipped the Cougars' way thanks a 10-point run. College of Charleston has seven kills, a block and an ace in the run that made it 18-12. Another three-point Cougar stand stretched the lead to 21-13, where the Gamecocks decided to try a comeback. A four-point string with kills from Howley, Forst and Thévenin helped the Gamecocks draw within four at 21-17, but the Cougars fought off the Gamecocks to claim a 25-19 win. Thévenin had six kills, but the Cougars out-hit the Gamecocks, .324-.231.
Two tough serves by Thévenin helped the Gamecocks get kills from Forst and Stenlund to take a 3-1 lead early in the fifth. The advantage grew to 9-3 before the Cougars strung together five points, the first two on Gamecock attack errors, to draw within one at 9-8. The teams traded two-point stands before Charleston tied things at 12-12 on Kolich's back-row kill. The Gamecocks outlasted the Cougars on the next two points to get to set point, where Thévenin powered a shot off the block out to claim the 15-12 set and match win. Thévenin had three kills and four digs in the final frame.
The Gamecocks tied or won every stat category, including posting 71 kills in the contest.