Gamecocks Fall in Four Sets to Arkansas in Dig Pink Match
Oct. 1, 2010
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (3-11, 0-4 SEC) fought to the last point but ultimately succumbed to Arkansas (9-7, 3-2 SEC) in four sets, as the Razorbacks took a 25-19, 19-25, 31-29, 25-23 victory home from the Volleyball Competition Facility in the Gamecocks' annual breast cancer awareness match, this year dubbed Dig Pink.
The Gamecocks wore pink jerseys for the night, with slogans on the back like Hope, Inspire, Bravery, Courage and Believe. Laughlin had her name on the back of hers, in honor of her mother who she lost to breast cancer in April. Dig Pink towels were given away, as many fans came dressed in pink to show their support for the cause. Fans and the team also wrote messages on pink tape that was placed on the court in front of the stands.
Freshman outside hitter Juliette Thévenin had 14 kills to lead Carolina, while senior libero Hannah Lawing had a match-best 20 digs. Senior outside hitter Megan Laughlin posted 12 kills and hit .393, second on the team for the night in both categories. Junior middle blocker Teresa Stenlund continued her stellar play, missing a double-double by one kill and one dig, getting nine in each category. Sophomore outside hitter Christina Glover had 12 digs, while sophomore setter Taylor Bruns posted a double-double with 24 assists and 11 digs. Jasmine Norton led Arkansas in both kills and digs, getting 19 of each. Kelli Stipanovich and Amanda Anderson had 15 and 10 kills, respectively. Brooke Fournier hoisted 15 digs, while Hayley Koop added 10.
Arkansas took control of the first set behind Jasmine Norton's serve, as the Gamecocks made two attack errors to help the Hogs peel off five straight points to take a 14-10 advantage. The Gamecocks closed the gap to two at 20-18 behind a Stenlund kill and a Razorback attack error, but a three-point run nearly put the nail in the coffin of South Carolina, as Koop had a kill and a block assist in the stretch. A pair of Gamecock attacking errors ended the frame at 25-19, as the Hogs held Carolina to a .023 hitting percentage in the first.
South Carolina came out strong in the second, claiming leads of 3-1 and 8-5. The Razorbacks kept coming back, tying things up each time. But the Garnet and Black put things away when they claimed 10 out of 13 points in a stretch, five coming on Stenlund's serve, finally making it 21-13. A service error ended things at 25-19 in favor of the pink-clad Gamecocks. Thévenin had four kills in the frame, while both Glover and Laughlin posted three without an attacking error. The Gamecocks also made four blocks, two of them solo stops by Thévenin.
The third set had the crowd of 541 fans on their feet, cheering and moaning with many points. There were 11 ties in the frame, most coming at the end of the set. After coming back from a 12-8 deficit, the Gamecocks got the first shot at set point after a block by Stenlund and redshirt sophomore Olivia Ryder. But a service error kept things going, and went they did. The teams traded points on the next four tries before Arkansas took the advantage after a bad set by Carolina. But the Gamecocks kept fighting, swapping points for the next six. Finally, after a Stipanovich kill put the Hogs to their fourth set point, Arkansas came through with a block by Amanda Anderson and Stipanovich. The Gamecocks won every statistical category in the frame except for service aces, as the Hogs had two more.
Arkansas hoped to run away and hide after fourth-set leads of 5-1 and 17-13. But South Carolina clawed their way back, posting a three-point stand that included a pair of blocks, first a solo by Stenlund before she assisted Ryder on another, to make it 18-17. The Razorbacks responded soon after with back-to-back blocks anchored by Janeliss Torres, putting the lead back to three at 21-18. The Gamecocks made things interesting with back-to-back points to stave off elimination, but Anderson put away her final try to end the fourth in the Hogs' favor, 25-23. Anderson, Norton and Stipanovich all had four kills in the final frame, part of 17 in the decisive set.
The Gamecocks won the blocks battle for the fourth time this season, but the Razorbacks won every other category, the biggest in kills, 63-53.
South Carolina hosts No. 16 LSU on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 1:30 p.m. EDT in the Volleyball Competition Facility. It will be Garnet, Black and Green Day, as the first 100 fans will receive reusable grocery bags.