South Carolina Falls in Four at No. 22 Kentucky
Sept. 19, 2010
by Koby Padgett
LEXINGTON, Ky. - South Carolina once again took a set off a ranked team, but No. 22 Kentucky (7-5, 1-1 SEC) held off the Gamecocks to claim a four-set win, 25-20, 25-10, 21-25, 25-20, at Memorial Coliseum.
Freshman Juliette Thévenin topped the Gamecocks (2-9, 0-2 SEC) with 14 kills, while senior Megan Laughlin added 11 in the match. Freshman Frankie Vain had one of her best matches in the Garnet and Black, putting down six kills while hitting .385. Senior libero Hannah Lawing posted 15 digs in the contest. Lauren Rapp led the Wildcats hitting .500 with 16 kills and five blocks. Whitney Billings had 12 kills, while Stephanie Klefot had a match-best 21 digs. Both Ann Armes (11 kills, 10 digs) and Blaire Hiler (10 kills, 10 digs) had double-doubles.
A five-point run midway through the first set gave Kentucky control at 13-9. The Wildcat lead grew to 18-12 after three-consecutive Gamecock errors, but South Carolina came back with six-straight points later to make it 21-20. But Kentucky took the set with a four-point run to close it. Billings put away the final two points with a kill and a solo block. She had five of the Wildcats' kills in the 25-21 set win.
The Wildcats rolled in the second set, taking the frame at 25-10. Rapp and Hiler both had four kills, with Rapp hitting .800 in the frame. Kentucky's defense kept the Gamecocks to a -.067 hitting percentage in the set.
Kentucky took a 9-4 lead in the third after capturing eight of 10 points, but South Carolina rebounded later, taking six of seven points to tie the match at 18-18. The Gamecocks continued that momentum, getting to set point after a five-point stand that included a kill and an ace by Laughlin. Rapp extended the frame, but just by a point when Thévenin ended the frame with a big cross-court swing that clinched the set, 25-21. South Carolina closed on a 13-6 run, with Laughlin getting eight points in the frame. Thévenin added six kills without an error. It's the first set win for the Gamecocks in Memorial Coliseum since 2004.
Kentucky used a five-point run in the middle of the fourth to claim control and ultimately the set. The run put Kentucky up, 15-10, with two kills in the frame coming on overpasses. South Carolina tried to fight back but could not get closer than four points. Armes finished the match with a shot down the line at 25-20.
Kentucky led every stat category, including outhitting the Gamecocks, .328 to .165.
South Carolina returns home for a four-match homestand starting on Friday, when the Rebels from Mississippi come to the Volleyball Competition Facility for a 7 p.m. match.