Nov. 4, 2011
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (11-13, 2-12 SEC) tried to mount a comeback bid in the third set, but Ole Miss (9-14, 5-10 SEC) held strong to take a sweep at the Volleyball Competition Facility 25-18, 25-14, 25-21.
A balanced Rebel attack saw no players in double figures in kills, but all six starters had at least five. Allegra Wells posted nine kills with a .533 hitting percentage. Regina Thomas led the Rebels with 12 points, posting seven kills and eight blocks, two of those solo. Whitney Craven had nine kills and 14 digs, while Morgan Springer had 12 digs.
South Carolina sophomore libero Paige Wheeler tallied 15 digs to lead all players. Sophomore outside hitter Juliette Thévenin had 11 kills and an ace, while junior setter Taylor Bruns just missed a double-double with 24 assists and nine digs.
The Rebels controlled play in the first two sets, taking them 25-18 and 25-14. Ole Miss hit .545 in the first set and used two blocks to hold the Gamecocks to a .074 mark in the win. Kara Morgan led the Rebels with five kills on seven swings, while sophomore middle blocker Megan Kent had three kills without an error for South Carolina in the first set.
The second saw the Rebels hit just .300 but three Ole Miss blocks helped the visitors take a two-set advantage into the long break. Despite the more lopsided score, the back row defense picked up in the second, with the two teams combining for 51 digs. Springer and Craven both had nine for Ole Miss, while Wheeler posted eight and Bruns seven for the Gamecocks. The Rebels saw Thomas and Philpot both put away three kills without an error in the frame.
South Carolina played much better in the third set, but Ole Miss came back in the end to take the frame 25-21. The Gamecocks held as big as a four-point lead, but the Rebels made a stand, putting up seven-straight points to claim a 21-17 lead. Craven had an ace and three back-row kills in the run. The Gamecocks got consecutive points late to draw within two, but Ole Miss clinched the set and match with Thomas's second solo block of the frame. Craven had four kills without an error, while Wells added five kills on six swings.
Ole Miss held an advantage in every statistical category, including a .317-.109 advantage in hitting percentage and an 8-4 lead in blocks.
The Gamecocks host Alabama on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. EST, with SportSouth again televising the contest live to its regional audience.
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