Oct. 7, 2011
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - In a high-energy match, South Carolina (9-7, 0-6 SEC) fell to LSU (11-5, 4-2 SEC) in four sets, as the Tigers claimed the match 25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 25-18, in front of 675 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
Michele Williams topped LSU's attack with 18 kills. Desiree Elliott added 17 with a .343 hitting percentage, while Madie Jones posted 15 kills. Lauren Waclawczyk and Meghan Mannari both had 19 digs, and setter Malorie Pardo added 50 assists and 12 digs.
Gamecock sophomore libero Paige Wheeler led all players with 25 digs and had a perfect night in serve reception as well. Redshirt freshman Cara Howley and senior Teresa Stenlund hit well from the right side, tallying 12 and 10 kills each to lead South Carolina offensively. Junior setter Taylor Bruns compiled 15 assists and 11 digs, while freshman outside hitter Hanna Forst added 10 digs. Stenlund posted five block assists, while sophomore middle blocker Megan Kent had five blocks as well, including one solo stuff.
The Tigers took the first set, 25-21, with Williams helping the Tigers close it out. LSU grabbed the lead for good on a two-point swing at 14-12 that was capped by a Williams' smash. A three-point run extended the lead to 20-16, with Mannari landing an ace to close that stretch. Williams had the last two LSU kills, coming around a Gamecock error and a Kent kill. Williams recorded five kills in the frame without an error. Howley matched that kill total for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina came back and took the second set that featured a combined 43 digs between the two squads. A large Gamecock lead of 6-1 disappeared after two four-point Tiger runs gave LSU a 9-8 lead. South Carolina responded with a three-point swing to retake a 12-10 advantage. Both teams posted two or three-point skeins the rest of the way, but the Gamecocks' four-point run that made it 23-19 gave them a large enough cushion at the end. Freshman outside hitter Bethanie Thomas recorded an ace, followed by Kent's solo block and a Stenlund kill. The Tigers got within one, but Kent posted a kill to put the Gamecocks to set point. Williams answered to make it 24-23, but Stenlund put away the Lexie Pawlik set to give the Gamecocks the 25-23 win. Both Howley and Stenlund had three kills in the frame, while Wheeler added nine digs.
LSU captured the third set, 25-18, breaking it open after holding a slim 11-10 advantage. A five-point stand gave the Tigers a bit of room, and another four-point string moved the lead to 22-12. The Gamecocks fought back, drawing to within six before Jones ended the frame with her third kill in the third. Elliott and Williams both had four kills.
The Tigers closed out the final set, 25-18, behind six Williams kills. LSU ran out to a 7-2 lead that grew as large at 13-5 before the Gamecocks fought back. Two three-point runs closed the gap to 14-11 and gave South Carolina life. But the Tigers compiled another four-point run on Sam Delahoussaye's serve to stretch the lead back to 22-16. Williams wrapped the set and match with consecutive kills. Wheeler had eight digs in the final frame for the Gamecocks, while junior outside hitter Christina Glover added seven.
The two squads tied with six blocks each. LSU claimed the other statistical categories
South Carolina hosts Arkansas on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. EDT in the Volleyball Competition Facility.
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