Sept. 13, 2013
DURHAM, N.C. -- The South Carolina volleyball team picked up its second win on Friday at the Duke Invitational as it swept Liberty by the scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-21 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
With the victory, the Gamecocks, who defeated Utah State earlier in the day, improve to 5-3 on the season and will play host Duke on Saturday for the tournament title. Liberty drops to 1-8 with the loss.
After falling in three close matches a week ago, South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson was pleased with his team's response on Friday.
"I was very impressed with our mentality," Swanson said. "We are looking really good in spurts. We are still not as consistent as we'd like to be, but I feel like these wins are a big confidence booster for us. Last weekend was a little rough on our confidence. It was a great start for us, and we have a really tough test tomorrow against Duke."
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led the way with her second double-double of the season, recording a match-high 16 kills and 14 digs. Freshman KoKo Atoa-Williams chipped in nine kills, while sophomore Darian Dozier and freshman Jacqy Angermiller added eight kills apiece. Dozier and Angermiller also had five and four blocks, respectively. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil finished with 37 assists, four kills and four blocks. Senior Lindsey Craft (14), junior libero Michaela Christiaansen (12) and freshman Gabrielle Rubeis (11) all finished with double digits in digs. As a team, South Carolina outhit the Flames .254-.110.
Senior outside hitter Lillie Happel paced the Flames with 12 kills, while Nzea Mcquitery finished with eight. Senior setter Jade Craycraft distributed 27 assists and tallied four blocks, while Becca Haraf led Liberty in digs with 10.
The Gamecocks were zoned in early in the first set as they built a 5-1 lead, but Liberty caught fire and came back with a 14-5 run to take a 15-10 lead. Following a timeout, South Carolina refocused, and a kill by Dozier sparked a 10-1 run that gave the Gamecocks a 20-16 lead. The Gamecocks went on to win the set 25-19, outhitting the Flames .238-.091.
The roles were reversed to start the second set, as Liberty jumped out to an early 5-2 lead. The Gamecocks came back to tie the match at 5-5 on a kill by Atoa-Williams, one of seven ties in the set. The Flames led 12-11 midway through the set after a kill by Mcquitery. However, South Carolina responded with a 6-2 run to take a 17-14 lead capped by a McNeil ace that was untouched. Liberty pulled to within one point on four occasions the rest of the way, with the last being at 20-19, but the Gamecocks outscored the Flames 5-2 down the stretch to win the set. South Carolina outhit Liberty .333-.242 for the frame.
South Carolina seemed to be in control of the third set as it built a 9-3 lead, but the Flames would not go down without a fight as they went on an 8-2 run to tie the match at 11-11. The Gamecocks fired back with a 9-3 run capped by a Thévenin kill that gave the team a 20-14 lead. Liberty made one last push as it pulled to within 20-19 on a Gamecock attack error. However, South Carolina outscored the Flames 5-2 the rest of the way to win the set and complete the sweep.
The Gamecocks will wrap up play in the Duke Invitational on Saturday with a matchup against the host Blue Devils. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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