South Carolina Falls at LSU in Five-Set Affair
Oct. 26, 2008
BATON ROUGE, La. - In a hard-fought contest, South Carolina fell just short in its bid for a road win, falling at LSU, 21-25, 27-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-13, on Sunday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The Gamecocks move to 16-6 on the year and 7-5 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Tigers improve to 12-7 and 7-5, respectively.
Redshirt senior middle blocker Belita Salters had a season-best eight blocks to go with 17 kills. The outside hitters collected their second-consecutive double-doubles, as junior Ivana Kujundzic had 20 kills and 17 digs and sophomore Hannah Lawing added 11 kills and 12 digs. Junior libero Sarah Cline set a season best with 24 digs, while junior Petra Lorenzi contributed a career high-tying 14 digs. Junior setter Bridget Denson-Dorman also set a season-high 59 kills while adding three blocks. Brittnee Cooper's 18 kills and nine blocks led LSU. Michele Williams and Kyna Washington added 12 kills each, while Angela Bensend had 10 kills. Setter Sam Dabbs had 50 assists, 10 digs and six kills, while Washington added 12 digs as well. Libero Elena Martinez posted a match-high 25 digs.
The Gamecocks got out to a 4-1 lead early in the first thanks to three kills by Salters. A pair of Kujundzic kills, including one from the back row, kept South Carolina with a three-point advantage at 8-5. But the Tigers responded with a four-point swing that was bookended by Dabbs dumps. Both teams would get two points in a row before the Gamecocks got four points in a row, capped by a Lawing ace out of the LSU timeout, to get a 16-12 lead. Another three-point run that included two Kujundzic kills pushed the Garnet and Black lead to 20-15. The Tigers closed the gap to two at 21-19 after an Angela Bensend kill and two from Cooper. But the Gamecocks would take four of the final six points including a Salters solo block that ended the set at 25-21. Salters tallied eight kills on a .636 hitting percentage, leading the squad to a .389 mark in the set. Kujundzic added five digs and four kills for Carolina.
A five-point string staked South Carolina to an 8-3 lead early in the second set. LSU answered though, getting two consecutive points on solo blocks by Cooper and Williams before a three-point swing closed the Gamecock lead to 11-9. Twice, the Tigers got within one, at 13-12 and 16-15, yet the Gamecocks responded with three-straight points to get a 19-15 advantage. That grew to 23-17 after another three-point skein, started by a Lawing kill and closed by her ace. Four-consecutive Gamecock errors brought the Tigers back to 23-21, and Williams tied it with a kill and a solo block. However, Salters and Denson-Dorman got a block to put Carolina to set point. A hitting error and a Cooper kill gave LSU the chance to end the frame, but Kujundzic got a kill to tie it up at 25-25. Cooper came back to put the Tigers at set point again, and Dabbs got an ace to end the frame in LSU's favor, 27-25. Johnson, Cooper and Williams all had four kills in the second for LSU, while Martinez had 10 digs in the set.
After the Gamecocks took a 6-5 lead in the third, the Tigers came alive, taking the next three points for an 8-6 advantage. A five-point string soon followed to push the LSU advantage to 15-9. A triple block took the Bayou Bengals to an 18-11 lead. Kills by Salters and Kujundzic brought the Gamecocks within five, but that would be as close as they got. Washington and Williams ended the set at 25-17 with a block, the seventh Tiger block in the frame. LSU also hit .440 in the set.
Much like the third set, after South Carolina got a 5-4 advantage in the fourth, LSU responded by taking seven of the next eight points to go up, 11-6. That lead was extended to 13-8 after a Williams kill and Washington's smash on an overpass. After falling behind, 18-12, the Gamecocks started on the comeback trail. First, a three-point run started and ended on Lawing kills made it a three-point affair before consecutive blocks, both assisted by Salters, forced the Tigers to use a timeout with their lead down to one, 19-18. Out of the timeout, however, the Carolina run continued. Another block assist by Salters, her second in the set with Denson-Dorman, followed by an LSU attack missing long and a Lawing back-row tip finding the floor, put South Carolina up, 21-19. Another LSU timeout did not stop the Gamecocks' momentum, as Kujundzic made it a seven-point run with her kill. Williams ended the run at 22-20, but a Salters solo block and an LSU error got the Garnet and Black to set point. An attacking error by the visitors kept the frame alive, but Kujundzic wrapped it up at 25-21 with her sixth kill of the frame. Cline had six digs, while Lorenzi added five in the fourth.
In the fifth, LSU took an early 4-1 lead behind two blocks involving Cooper and a net-assisted ace by Williams. The Gamecocks tied it up after two Kujundzic kills and a Tiger error. The Purple and Gold went back up by three after a Bensend kill and consecutive blocks by Johnson and Cooper. After a service error, Johnson and Cooper got another block to keep LSU up by three, 8-5. After swapping side outs and a Carolina timeout, Laughlin got a solo block ahead of a Moorhead kill to put the Gamecocks down just one at 9-8. But Williams came back with a kill to set LSU up to just trade side outs the rest of the way. That's what the Tigers did, as Cooper closed the match at 15-13 with a spike. Cooper had four block assists and three kills in the final set.
In the match, Salters tied and passed Lorri Anderson for seventh on the Carolina solo block list and moved past Libby Ralston for 10th on the block assist list. South Carolina had more kills, digs and assists than LSU, who held advantages in hitting percentage, aces and blocks. The five-set loss is just the Gamecocks' second this year, following Friday's setback at Georgia.
South Carolina returns home for a three-match home stand that begins on Friday against Arkansas at 7 p.m. in the Volleyball Competition Facility.