Gamecocks Drop Three-Set Decision at No. 20 Tennessee
Oct. 30, 2011
by Koby Padgett
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - South Carolina (11-12, 2-11 SEC) dropped its second match of the weekend on Sunday, as No. 20 Tennessee (20-3, 13-1 SEC) swept the Gamecocks 25-13, 25-20, 25-14 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tiffany Baker topped Tennessee, hitting .519 with 15 kills and 12 digs. Kelsey Robinson added 13 kills and 10 digs, while Ellen Mullins posted 11 digs. Dee Dee Harrison had seven kills and four blocks, two of those solo, and Leslie Cikra contributed eight kills on a .636 hitting percentage.
South Carolina sophomore middle blocker Megan Kent posted a .545 hitting percentage and seven kills, and sophomore outside hitter Juliette Thévenin made nine kills and 11 digs. Sophomore libero Paige Wheeler compiled a team-high 12 digs.
An 8-1 run in the first set helped the Lady Vols claim it 25-13. After freshman Bethanie Thomas put away a Lady Vol overpass to take a 4-3 advantage, Tennessee responded with the run that made it 11-5, with the final two kills going to Robinson in the stretch. The Gamecocks drew within six again before the Lady Vols ripped off seven straight, getting two kills from both Robinson and Baker in the run. Baker ended things at 25-13 with a kill off the block, her fifth kill of the frame without an error. Tennessee hit .615 in the first while holding South Carolina to a .037 mark.
A tight second set tipped Tennessee's way, 25-20. South Carolina stayed close until a four-point Lady Vol run made it 21-16, with the last three points coming on Gamecock attacking errors. Cikra ended the frame with her shot down the line. Kent played outstanding in the frame, posting four kills in four swings. Thévenin added four as well for South Carolina, but Baker continued her great play with five kills to lead Tennessee.
Tennessee used a 6-1 stand to break away and take the third set 25-14. Robinson and Baker kept their stellar play going, with the duo posting five kills each in the frame. Gamecock freshman Hanna Forst gave South Carolina its final lead at 9-8 before Tennessee started its stand. Robinson's two kills ended a three-point run, and two Lady Vol blocks powered the back end of the 6-1 run. The Lady Vols closed the match with a 10-2 run, with Robinson's cross-court shot going off the arms of the Gamecock defender to end it. Tennessee hit .400 in the final frame to claim the sweep.
The two teams tied with four aces each, while Tennessee held advantages in all other categories, including a .446-.108 lead in hitting percentage.
South Carolina hosts Ole Miss and Alabama next weekend at the Volleyball Competition Facility, with SportSouth televising both outings. Friday's match against the Rebels begins at 7 p.m. EDT, while Sunday's contest against the Crimson Tide has a 1 p.m. EST first serve scheduled at the Volleyball Competition Facility.