Sept. 18, 2004
Columbia, S.C. - In their first match of the Gamecock Invitational, the South Carolina volleyball team rallied back to defeat Michigan State 3-2. The win marked the first ever against the Spartans. Game scores were 30-22, 30-21, 21-30, 25-30, 15-6. Shonda Cole led USC with 19 kills while Lynae Vanden Hull hit .429 with 14 kills. Lauren Ford also recorded double figure kills with 11 and hit .409.
An explosive game five had the Gamecocks down 3-1 early but an attack error by MSU tied the score 3-3 and a kill by Cole gave Carolina the lead, establishing the charge from there. USC went on a 6-0 run to lead 7-3 before the Spartans were able to score again. A 4-0 run and a 3-0 run then sealed the deal for the Garnet and Black as MSU was held to just six points in game five.
"This was a great win for us. You are always a bit nervous when you have a young team and you get to the fifth game. To get that far with Michigan State says a lot, they are a good team and I am proud that we could go there with them and come out on top," said head coach Kim Hudson. "It is a good day to be a Gamecock."
Carolina took a 2-0 lead in the match before the Spartans jumped back into the match and won games three and four. In game one, USC held MSU to .000 hitting percentage as the Spartans recorded eight kills and eight errors. The Gamecocks hit an impressive .455 and had 19 kills and four errors.
USC continued to put the pressure on MSU and in game two, controlled the match with a .529 average, 20 kills and just two errors. USC claimed the lead early and never let up.
"We were able to apply pressure to Michigan State and that allowed us to play well. We served pretty well in game two and we didn't have too many unforced errors," said Hudson.
After the break, the Spartans regrouped and came out and rallied back into the game. In game three, MSU took the lead and held on as they were up 24-15 at one point. The Gamecocks could not manage to get any rhythm going and recorded 10 kills to the Spartans' 18. In game three, MSU hit .324 to Carolina's .200.
Michigan State continued with their game plan as game four had a similar outcome. In game four, the Spartans never really ran away with the game. USC tied the score 20-20 on a ball handling error by the Spartans and a service ace by Katelyn Panzau put the Gamecocks in the lead by one. Carolina's last lead in the game came on a kill by Vanden Hull when USC was up 24-23. MSU's Andrea Hansen and Katie Johnson then connected on a block assist to put the Spartans up 25-24. From there, MSU expanded on their lead and held on to the 30-25 win and tied the match 2-2.
Michigan State finished the tournament with a 0-2 record while the Gamecocks will meet Notre Dame tomorrow to decide the champion. The USC vs. Notre Dame match is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be televised on a tape-delay basis on CSTV. The match will air at 6 p.m. on CSTV. In Columbia, CSTV can be found on channel 150 on Time Warner Cable and 610 on DirecTV.
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