Gamecocks Drop Match at No. 1 Florida in Three Sets
Oct. 27, 2010
by Koby Padgett
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Strong serving and net defense led top-ranked Florida (19-1, 12-0 SEC) past South Carolina in three sets, 25-20, 25-17, 25-13, in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Wednesday evening.
South Carolina libero Hannah Lawing posted a match-best 16 digs, helping her climb to fourth on the Gamecocks' all-time digs chart at 1,198 and second on the rally-scoring era single-season list with 387 on the year. Freshman Juliette Thévenin had eight kills and added nine digs for South Carolina (5-17, 2-10 SEC), while senior Megan Laughlin had seven kills in her first action in over two weeks. Callie Rivers and Kelly Murphy both posted 11 kills to lead Florida, while Rivers hit .524 in the contest to lead all attackers. Cassandra Anderson tallied six blocks as the Gators held a 9-2 advantage there.
The Gamecocks battled in the early part of the first set, taking a 7-6 lead after kills from sophomore Christina Glover and Thévenin came in a three-point run. After Florida took a 9-7 lead, South Carolina tied it again at 10-10 on back-to-back kills by redshirt sophomore Olivia Ryder. Florida ran away from there, taking four straight points into the media timeout at 15-11 before adding a seven-point string later that included three kills from Rivers. The Gamecocks made things interesting, making a four-point stand on Florida set point, with Taylor Bruns landing two aces in the stretch. But the Gators closed things at 25-20 on Rivers' sixth kill of the frame on her seventh swing. Lawing had 10 digs to help the Gamecocks in the frame.
South Carolina kept things close again in the second set until the media timeout, as Florida used two four-point runs late to take the frame, 25-17. The Gamecocks used a three-point run capped by a Thévenin ace to take an 8-6 lead and held a 11-10 advantage later, but the Gators got four points in a five-point stretch to take a 15-13 lead into the TV break. The first four-point skein saw Rivers bookend things with kills to put the Gators up 21-15. Murphy wrapped the set with her fourth kill in the frame, while Laughlin had four to lead South Carolina.
After junior Teresa Stenlund and Ryder started the third frame with a South Carolina block, Florida took over. A 10-point Gator run followed, as Rivers landed three aces in the stretch. South Carolina had one three-point string in the set, but the Gators ended the match at 25-13 on a Gamecock hitting error. Rivers had four of the five Gator service aces in the set.
Florida led most stats, including a .323-.057 difference in hitting percentage, but the Gamecocks did hold a 38-35 advantage in digs, just the sixth time in 2010 South Carolina has done that.
The Gamecocks head to Mississippi for a Halloween showdown against current SEC Western Division co-leader Ole Miss, with first serve set for 1:30 p.m. CDT at the Gillom Sports Center.