Gamecocks Capture Carolina Challenge with Sweep of Winthrop
Sept. 13, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Gamecocks swept through their final match in the Carolina Challenge over Winthrop, 25-22, 25-17, 25-11, behind a stellar performance from junior outside hitter Meredith Moorhead. The victory stretched the Garnet and Black's winning streak to eight and made their record 8-1, while the Eagles fall to 3-6.
Moorhead had 12 kills and hit .632 in the contest, not making an attack error in 19 tries. She also had a block assist and two set assists. Junior outside hitter Ivana Kujundzic led all players with 13 kills while she also had seven digs. Redshirt senior Belita Salters had 10 kills on a .529 hitting percentage and a match-high five blocks. Junior libero Sarah Cline tied her Winthrop counterpart Janice Rivera with 11 digs for match high. Junior setter Bridget Denson-Dorman had 34 set assists, seven digs and four blocks. For Winthrop, Shannon Sitzmann had 12 kills, while Kaley Viola added 10.
In the match, the Gamecocks hit .453, making only two attacking errors in the process. That is just outside of the top five in program history in a three-set affair. South Carolina also made eight blocks in the match, compared to none by Winthrop.
Winthrop had control of the first set, taking leads of 11-5 and 16-10 before the Gamecocks stormed back. South Carolina took its first lead in the match at 20-19 after a four point run that included two kills from Kujundzic. After it was tied at 22-22, the Gamecocks got the final three points, started by a Salters smash and ended by a block from Salters and Denson-Dorman. Denson-Dorman had all seven of her digs in the set.
The Garnet and Black ran out to a 12-8 lead thanks to consecutive kills by Moorhead, sophomore Annie Thomas and Salters. The lead was extended to 18-11 after a pair of blocks by the Gamecocks. An attack error by the Eagles wrapped up the second set, 25-17. Moorhead was a perfect 5-for-5 in the second set, while Carolina had four blocks.
The Carolina Gamecocks ran away with the third set early, as Winthrop used both of their timeouts in an 11-point skein that put South Carolina on top, 14-3. Kujundzic had four kills in the stretch. The lead grew to as much as 23-9 after another three-point run. An Eagle service error wrapped up the set, 25-11, and the match. The Gamecocks hit .583 in the final frame, compared to just .028 by the Eagles. Kujundzic had six of her kills in the final frame, while Cline made seven digs.
In the final match, Clemson swept the College of Charleston, 25-19, 28-26, 25-18. Danielle Hepburn had 15 kills to lead the Tigers.
Kujundzic was named the Carolina Challenge Most Valuable Performer, while Cline was chosen the Most Outstanding Libero. Denson-Dorman and Salters made the all-tournament team for South Carolina. Clemson's Hepburn and Lia Proctor, the Cougars' Whitney Russell and the Eagles' Stizmann also were named to the all-tournament team.
The Gamecocks open Southeastern Conference action on Friday, Sept. 19 against 2007 NCAA Tournament team LSU at 7 p.m. at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
2008 Carolina Challenge All-Tournament Team