Gamecocks Drop Hard-Fought Five-Setter to Arkansas
Oct. 4, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina volleyball team held a four-point lead late in the fifth set against Arkansas on Friday night but it was unable to hold on for the win, as the Razorbacks came back to take the set and win the match by the scores of 25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 25-23 and 15-12 in front of a standing-room only crowd of 1,405 at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
With the loss, the Gamecocks fall to 9-6 on the season and 1-2 in the SEC. Arkansas improves its record to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Friday's crowd is the fourth largest in VCF history.
South Carolina built a 9-5 lead in the fifth set, forcing Arkansas to take its final timeout of the match. The Razorbacks came out of the break and went on a 7-0 run to take a 12-9 lead. The Gamecocks pulled to within two points on three occasions with the last being at 14-12 on an Arkansas attack error. However, Razorback outside hitter Meredith Hays came through with a kill on the next rally to lift Arkansas to the win.
"I saw the lack of experience creep in a little bit," South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson said. "There were some broken plays where we were left scrambling. We worked hard, but there was some miscommunication. We let some balls drop that we shouldn't have. We started going tentative with our serve and tipping right at people. Give credit to Arkansas. We had them on the ropes, and they came back and used their experience against us. I couldn't be more proud of our team for the entire match that we played. I just thought had we fixed a few minor communication things it could have been a different outcome."
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led the way with her fourth double-double of the season, recording 18 kills and 13 digs. She also finished with three block assists. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil also posted a double-double, with 42 assists and 13 digs to go along with five blocks. Sophomore Sarah Blomgren chipped in 11 kills and three blocks, while freshman middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller added nine kills and four blocks. Sophomore middle Darian Dozier contributed seven kills with a .438 hitting percentage and led the team with six block assists, and freshman defensive specialist Gabrielle Rubeis collected a career-high 20 digs.
As a team, the Gamecocks out-blocked the Razorbacks 12-9, their eighth match this season with double-digit blocks. Arkansas held the advantage in hitting (.193-.148), kills (62-53) and digs (78-71).
Hays paced the Razorbacks with a double-double, producing 14 kills and 11 digs, while outside hitter Barbara Dapic and middle blocker Breana Jones added 11 kills apiece. Senior setters Raymariely Santos and Ashley Vazquez distributed 28 and 25 assists, respectively, while libero Emily Helm tallied 31 digs.
The Razorbacks held an 18-14 lead in the first set, but South Carolina went on a 4-1 run to cut Arkansas' lead to 19-18 on a kill by Thévenin. However, Arkansas answered with a 3-0 run to push its lead back to four on its way to a 25-22 win.
Arkansas seemed to be on its way to claiming the second set as it built a 17-13 lead, but the Gamecocks made a furious comeback, going on a 7-2 run capped by a Blomgren kill to take a 20-19 lead. The teams battled through four ties before an Angermiller kill off a McNeil set gave the Gamecocks the lead for good at 24-23. South Carolina then won the set on a Razorback ball handling error.
The Gamecocks fell behind 18-9 in the third set and were never able to recover, as Arkansas went on to win 25-16. However, South Carolina dug down deep and overcame an 18-14 deficit in the fourth set to even the match. The Gamecocks outscored the Razorbacks 11-5 down the stretch, including three kills by Thévenin and two by Dozier, to win the set 25-23 and send the match to a fifth set.
But it was not enough, as Arkansas took the fifth set to escape with the win.
South Carolina returns to action at home on Sunday against Texas A&M. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Volleyball Competition Facility.