Oct. 6, 2017
GEORGIA 3, SOUTH CAROLINA 2
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina dropped a 3-2 decision to Georgia Friday night at the Carolina Volleyball Center (25-22, 14-25, 19-25, 26-24, 10-15). The loss sets the Gamecocks back to 9-7, 2-2 in SEC play, in the first match under interim head coach Dottie Hampton. Georgia improves to 12-6 (2-3 SEC).
SET 1: Neither team would be locked in offensively in the first set, as both hit under .200 for the game, but it was the tough serves from Carolina that made the difference. The Gamecocks had five aces -- three from Aubrey Ezell -- in the game and were able to grind out the 25-22 win. There were five lead changes and 12 ties in the set, but South Carolina made the key run when it mattered most. With Georgia ahead 22-20, Emma Lock took over serving and helped the team run off the next five points to get the win. Along with an ace, her tough serve kept Georgia out of system and Mikayla Shields iced the win with a solo block.
SET 2: The second game would be a rough trek for the Gamecocks. Georgia came back with equally effective serves and South Carolina never was able to find a rhythm. The Gamecocks had just four kills total in the set, compared to 15 for the Bulldogs, and the match was evened up at 1-all.
SET 3: Though it was able to right the ship offensively in the third set, South Carolina's defense was unable to slow down Georgia's pin hitters in a 25-19 setback. The Bulldogs hit .429 in the game, and despite a team-best six kills in the third from Mikayla Shields, South Carolina gave up an early lead thanks to a 13-3 blitz from Georgia that turned a 13-6 Gamecock lead into a 19-16 deficit. The Bulldogs never looked back after the big run, and took the pivotal third set.
SET 4: South Carolina's defense had its breakthrough when it mattered most, and the Gamecock defense salvaged a 26-24 win in the fourth to send it the distance. An early 10-3 run gave the visitors a 15-12 lead, and it would grow to 22-17 late before the Carolina rally. Over a span of eight points (seven won by the Gamecocks) the South Carolina defense blocked down four balls. All told, Georgia had seven attack errors after reaching 22 points, and its back-to-back errors sealed the win for South Carolina.
SET 5: The Gamecocks were again victim to their own mistakes in the final game, committing six unforced errors in the 15-10 loss. Georgia would lead from start to finish after building an early 5-1 lead to close the match.
Stat of the Match
The South Carolina offense was its own worst enemy for the match, hitting 23 unforced errors compared to 15 for Georgia. The team's .082 hitting percentage was its lowest of the season.
With Sunday off, the team has a full week before its next competition. The Gamecocks will travel to face Arkansas at 8 p.m. ET Friday night, then return home for a Sunday match with Ole Miss at 1:30. Both matches will air on the SEC Network+.
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