A Returning Lawing Not Enough In Gamecocks' Four-Set Loss At Alabama
Nov. 1, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A returning junior Hannah Lawing led the Gamecocks with 14 kills and added 12 digs, but Alabama (7-17, 5-9 SEC) proved to be too much in a 19-25, 16-25, 27-25, 21-25 setback for South Carolina (12-11, 4-10 SEC) on Sunday afternoon at the Coleman Auxiliary Volleyball Extention.
Senior setter Bridget Denson-Dorman joined Lawing with a double-double, posting 28 assists and a team-best 14 digs. Junior Megan Laughlin and senior Ivana Kujundzic added 12 and 11 kills, respectively, while senior Sarah Cline posted 13 digs to keep her double-digit dig streak for the season alive. Kujundzic also had a team-best four blocks. Ashley Frazier led Alabama with 20 kills, while Alyssa Meuth and Brooks Webster contributed 17 and 15, respectively. Tide setter Kayla Schmidt had a double-double with 48 assists and 11 digs, while Kelsey Anderson added 10 digs. Sarah Machen had eight block assists to lead all players.
Alabama held a three-point advantage early in the first, taking it first at 7-4 after a block by Calli Johnson and Schmidt. The Gamecocks fought back, eventually tying up the set at 14-14 on consecutive kills by Laughlin and Lawing. The Crimson Tide responded by taking seven of the next eight points to claim a 21-15 lead. Webster closed out the first at 25-19 with her fifth kill. The Tide hit .395 in the first frame.
A four-point string by Alabama put it up, 7-4, and caused a South Carolina timeout. The Gamecocks got consecutive points, but the Tide came back with another quartet of points to stretch their lead to 11-6. Alabama errors put the Gamecocks back within three before the Tide ran off five of six to make it 16-9. After trading sideouts, Alabama ripped off three straight points to get to set point. After a Kujundzic kill, Webster ripped one down the line to hand the Tide the 25-16 set two win. Frazier had six kills in the second, while Alabama cruised to a .387 hitting percentage.
The Gamecocks put together a five-point skein to post a 15-10 lead in the third. Three different Gamecocks had a kill, while freshman Brandi Byers and Kujundzic combined for a block during the stretch. After Alabama used its final timeout at 18-13, the Tide posted a five-point run to tie the set, which included two Frazier kills and the second triple block of the frame for Alabama. Lawing ended the run with a kill and put the Gamecocks up by two with an ace, but a service error and a Meuth kill tied it again at 20-20. The teams swapped points until freshman setter Taylor Bruns made a successful dump followed by a Bama attack error put the Gamecocks up, 24-22. Alabama tied it after a service error and a Frazier kill. Lawing gave Carolina a third chance to end it, but Frazier made another kill to tie it again at 25-25. A blocking error on the Tide gave the Gamecocks a fourth shot at the set, and Laughlin did not let it pass again, getting her sixth kill of the frame to give South Carolina the 27-25 win. The Gamecocks hit .349 in the frame and had three blocks.
The Crimson Tide started the fourth hot, posting two three-point runs to take a 10-5 lead. A four-point Gamecock run made it a one-point set again, but the Tide answered with consecutive points make it 12-9. Alabama stretched the lead back to five at 19-14, but South Carolina came back to within three after a Laughlin kill and a Teresa Stenlund overpass spike, which forced a Tide timeout. Another Stenlund kill put the Gamecocks down just two at 19-17. After consecutive Alabama points, South Carolina head coach Ben Somera used his final break of the frame, but it didn't break the Tide's momentum, as Meuth put down her second straight kill. Kujundzic stopped the run with a kill, but a Gamecock attack error gave Alabama a set point chance. An Alabama service error and a Kujundzic solo block kept South Carolina alive, but Webster ended the hope at 25-21 with a kill.
South Carolina won just the digs battle, while Alabama held its biggest leads in blocks (11.5-5.0) and hitting percentage (.357-.222).
South Carolina plays at the Volleyball Competition Facility this coming weekend, hosting Auburn on Friday at 7 p.m. and Georgia on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.