Ivana Kujundzic's 15 Kills Gives Gamecocks Sweep at Mississippi State
Oct. 3, 2008
MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. - Behind a stellar performance from junior outside hitter Ivana Kujundzic, the South Carolina Gamecocks swept Mississippi State, 25-19, 25-13, 25-23, on Friday evening in the Newell-Grissom Building. The Gamecocks improve to 12-2 on the year and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Bulldogs fall to 6-9, 1-3 in the league.
Kujundzic had a match-high 15 kills while tying her career high with five aces. The junior also had seven digs. Junior libero Sarah Cline led a trio of Gamecocks with double-figure digs, making 14 while adding a season-best four set assists. Senior Dinelia Concepcion and sophomore Hannah Lawing both had 10 digs. Redshirt senior middle blocker Belita Salters tallied a season-high tying five blocks while also making nine kills. Junior outside hitter Meredith Moorhead had six kills on a .455 hitting percentage. Ioana Demian, who had 10 kills, led Mississippi State. Dorey Gray had 22 assists and 15 digs in the contest.
After falling behind, 3-1, early in the first set, the Gamecocks came back to take a 9-5 advantage. Kujundzic had four kills in that stretch. The Bulldogs clawed their way back into the match, tying it up at 13-13 after a South Carolina handling error. A kill and three aces by Kujundzic pushed the Gamecock advantage back to four at 19-15, causing the Bulldogs to use their final timeout. After a pair of Mississippi State points, South Carolina got five of the next six points to move to set point. A Gamecock service error prolonged the set, but just a point as sophomore Annie Thomas hit one down the line to close out the frame, 25-19. Kujunzic led South Carolina with six kills and three aces, while the Gamecocks got four blocks compared to just one by the Bulldogs.
The Gamecocks ran out to a 6-2 lead in the second behind a pair of blocks assisted by Salters. Four Mississippi State errors helped South Carolina stretch its lead to 16-9, while Kujundzic and Salters had kills to stretch that to 18-9. On Kujundzic's serve, the Gamecocks captured the set with five-straight points. An ace by the junior and kills by sophomore Megan Laughlin and Moorhead closed out the set in the Gamecocks' favor, 25-13. Kujundzic had seven kills in the frame, while Cline added six digs.
A 9-7 South Carolina lead turned into a 10-9 Mississippi State lead after consecutive aces by Gray. But the Gamecocks would respond, taking three-consecutive points, including a Kujundzic kill and a Salters and junior Bridget Denson-Dorman block, to put South Carolina back on top, 13-11. Another three-point string pushed the lead up to 16-12. The Carolina Gamecock lead got to 23-18 before the Bulldogs would stage a stand. Kills from Grace Hoyt, Gray and Ashley Newsome brought Mississippi State within two at 23-21, forcing a timeout from South Carolina. Out of the timeout, Salters spiked a ball to put the Gamecocks to set point, but a service error and a back-row attack error kept the match going. Kujundzic ended it with her 15th kill of the contest. Moorhead and Salters both four kills in the final set, with Moorhead not making an attacking error in the frame.
South Carolina concludes its road trip on Sunday at Alabama. Match time is set for 2:30 p.m. EDT at the C.A.V.E.