Despite Great Effort, Gamecocks Drop 3-1 Match To No. 6 Florida
Oct. 7, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Despite a good effort and a first-set win, South Carolina (10-6, 2-5 SEC) fell to sixth-ranked Florida (12-2, 6-1 SEC), 26-24, 19-25, 23-25, 15-25, in front of 832 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility on Wednesday night.
Senior libero Sarah Cline led everyone with 23 digs, one of four Gamecocks in double figures defensively. Senior Ivana Kujundzic and junior Hannah Lawing posted double-doubles, with Kujundzic getting 15 kills and 13 digs to Lawing's 13 and 11 while Lawing led the squad in hitting percentage at .324. Senior setter Bridget Denson-Dorman dished out 35 assists and made 10 digs for her eighth double-double of the season. Florida's Kelly Murphy put together a triple-double with 12 kills, 25 assists and 17 digs. Kristy Jaeckel and Colleen Ward both had 18 kills, while Elyse Cusack had 18 digs. Cassandra Anderson had 10 block assists for match-best honors.
The first set went back and forth, with the teams tying 11 times to go with four lead changes. Florida had three-point advantages numerous times, but the Gamecocks kept fighting back. South Carolina got its first lead since 7-6 on a four-point run that ended at 19-18 after three Gator errors. The Gators responded with a four-point streak to retake the advantage, 22-19, getting two kills and a block assist from Ward. A pair of Gamecock blocks led by sophomore Teresa Stenlund tied it at 22-22, and the teams traded points twice after that. Lawing tied the match for the final time with her third kill of the frame, and Gator attacking errors finished out the set, 26-24 for the Gamecocks. South Carolina hit .333 in the set win, with Kujundzic making seven kills.
Florida got rolling early in the second set, with a four-point run giving UF a 10-5 lead. The Gamecocks got within two at 11-9 after a block by Denson-Dorman and junior Megan Laughlin, but the Gators quickly pushed it back to a five-point difference at 14-9. The Gamecocks kept chipping away, getting to within two on three occasions, but Florida would put it away. Ward made consecutive kills before Jaeckel wrapped it up with her second and final ace of the match. Five Gator blocks contributed to South Carolina's .098 hitting percentage in the second.
South Carolina came out of the break a little more focused, taking its first substantial lead of the third at 15-12 after a block by Lawing and Stenlund. The Gamecocks kept the advantage at three until 21-18. A Murphy kill made it a two-point game. Florida brought Erin Fleming in to serve, and she kept the Gamecock offense out of rhythm for the next six points, helping the Gators get to set point at 24-21. Murphy got another kill in the stretch with Fleming also posting an ace. A Florida hitting error gave South Carolina an chance, and the Gamecocks made it interesting, as Stenlund and senior Meredith Moorhead got a block to make it a one-point set. Florida used it final timeout to stop Carolina's momentum, and Ward made the move look smart by getting her fifth kill of the frame to close it, 25-23.
Florida put away the Gamecocks in the fourth, hitting .467 in the 25-15 win. Four different UF three-point strings to go with a four-point streak put some distance between the Gators and Gamecocks, as South Carolina managed only two three-point runs in the frame. Ward had five kills in the set, including the capper.
South Carolina landed six aces to win the category, but Florida led in everything else. The match is just the third where the Gamecocks were out-dug, as Florida made 71 compared to Carolina's 64.
The Gamecocks take on SEC West-leading LSU on Friday night at 7 p.m. CDT in Baton Rouge, La.