South Carolina Moves to 12-0 With SEC Opening Sweep of Georgia
Sept. 14, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Behind junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin's 18 kills, South Carolina (12-0, 1-0 SEC) matched the best start in school history with a sweep of Georgia (6-4, 0-1 SEC), 26-24, 25-18, 25-19, in front of 1,030 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility on Friday night.
Thévenin had no errors in the final two sets, hitting .333 on the match. Redshirt sophomore Cara Howley posted 11 kills on a .500 hitting percentage and tied for match-best honors with three blocks. Senior setter Taylor Bruns had 35 assists, seven digs and three blocks. Bruns, Howley and Thévenin all had two aces. Sophomore outside hitter Bethanie Thomas had eight kills without an error. Junior libero Paige Wheeler had 13 digs, while senior Christina Glover added 10.
Briana Bahr had 12 kills without an error for Georgia, six of those coming in the final set. Brittany Northcutt added 11 kills, while Allison Summers had 13 digs.
South Carolina made a late surge to take the first set, 26-24. Georgia had a 22-16 advantage thanks to a five-point run that included two Gamecock attacking errors. But the Gamecocks put together a three-point run to force the Bulldogs to use their first timeout. A Northcutt kill stopped that run at 23-19, but South Carolina took five straight to get to set point first, the first two thanks to Thévenin on a kill and block assist. The Bulldogs got a block to stave off the first set point, but a service error gave the Gamecocks a second chance. This time, South Carolina had the block, from redshirt freshman Christina Vereb and Howley, to end the frame at 26-24. Thévenin and Howley combined for eight kills in the first set, while Wheeler had seven digs and Glover five.
The Gamecocks hit .393 in the second set to run to a 25-18 win. South Carolina took control with a 9-1 run that concluded with a block assist and kill from Howley. Georgia got within five but no closer, as Howley finished the frame with her second kill, thanks in part to a great fake by Bruns to give her an open net. Thévenin had five kills and Thomas four, and neither had an error.
A 10-3 start gave South Carolina a large lead, but Georgia would cut it to one at 19-18. The Gamecocks responded by taking six of the last seven points to clinch the match with a 25-19 set-three win. The early run came in part on four aces, two from Bruns and one each from Thévenin and Howley. The Bulldogs climbed back in the match with an 8-1 skein, with Tirah Le'au landing two kills in the stretch. South Carolina had two kills from Thévenin in the last stretch, while Thomas and Howley both had kills as well. Wheeler ended it with an ace at 25-19. Thévenin, Howley and Thomas had all but one of the Gamecocks' kills in the final set, none with an error, helping the Gamecocks hit .412 in the frame.
South Carolina won every stat category except for digs, where the two teams tied with 38. The Gamecocks matched a season high with seven aces.
The Gamecocks host defending SEC Western Division champ LSU on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Fans with a UAB football game ticket stub can gain admittance to the VCF for $1.