Oct. 29, 2017
AUBURN 3, SOUTH CAROLINA 0
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Despite a season-best performance blocking at the net, South Carolina dropped a 3-1 decision at home to Auburn Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks took the opening set, but lost the next three to drop their record to 10-12, 3-7 in SEC play. The Tigers avenged a loss on their home court to Carolina, and are now 12-8 this season (5-6 SEC).
SET 1: South Carolina’s defense keyed the team to a 25-20 win in the opening game. The team had five blocks and held Auburn to an .065 hitting percentage, Claire Edwards had two blocks while Mikayla Robinson chipped in for three and Aubrey Ezell cleaned up eight digs on the back row. Mikayla Shields recovered from an off night at Florida Friday to lead the offense with four kills in the game, and the team used a 5-0 run late that broke a 19-all tie and clinched the win.
SET 2: The Gamecocks led early in set two as well, but Auburn came back late and were able to grind out the 29-27 win to even the match. South Carolina led 17-13, but Auburn ran off eight of the next ten points to go ahead 21-19. The Tigers had set point at 24-22, but a pair of attack errors for the visitors pushed the set past 25. Carolina had set point at 26-25, but couldn’t convert the opportunity, and Auburn closed it out.
SET 3: Auburn enjoyed a big run late in the third set to turn a tight game early into a 25-18 win for the 2-1 lead. The Gamecocks could not slow down Auburn’s Brenna McIlroy, who had seven kills in the set, and were doubled up in kills by Auburn in the third, 16-8. The Tigers broke out of a 16-16 tie and never looked back, scoring six unanswered points to close out the set.
SET 4: South Carolina’s offense continued to struggle in the fourth set, and an early hole would prove to be too much to climb out of in a 25-22 loss. The Tigers held a 15-7 lead at the television timeout, thanks to an 11-3 run that broke a 4-all tie, and never looked back. The Gamecocks had just seven kills in the set and hit .037, relying on five Auburn service errors and three more blocks from the defense to hang in the game. Carolina would get no closer than two points after Auburn’s big run, and the Tigers closed out the match.
Stat of the Match
After an even first two sets offensively, Auburn held a 30-15 advantage in kills over sets three and four to earn the win. South Carolina finished the match hitting .088, the fourth time in SEC play hitting under .100 as a team.
Next up will be a full weekend on the road for South Carolina. The Gamecocks bus up to Knoxville for a Friday night rematch with Tennessee, then move on to Kentucky for a Sunday afternoon match against the conference-leading Wildcats. First serve against the Vols Friday will be at 7 p.m. ET.
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