Nov. 5, 2017
#6 KENTUCKY 3, SOUTH CAROLINA 1
LEXINGTON, KY. - South Carolina was able to take a set off No. 6 Kentucky Sunday afternoon, but dropped a 3-1 road decision (25-20, 15-25, 22-25, 16-25). Five Gamecock hitters finished with eight or more kills, but the defense couldn’t slow down one of the nation’s best offenses. The Gamecocks are now 11-13 overall and 4-8 in the SEC, Kentucky improves to 20-3 (11-1 SEC).
SET 1: South Carolina built an early 12-8 lead after starting 6-of-11 on its attacks, forcing Kentucky into a timeout. The Wildcats, who entered the day hitting .314 as a team, struggled in the set with eight attack errors and hit just .135. The Gamecocks were able to string out a multi-point lead throughout the rest of the set to take it 25-20, with Abreia Epps’ three kills leading the Carolina offense. It was the first set the Gamecocks had won in Lexington since 2010, a span of five matches.
SET 2: The Wildcats used a 5-0 run to break away from a close start to the set, forcing the Gamecocks to burn a timeout trailing 11-7. Carolina was able to draw within two out of the break, 12-10, but Kentucky never trailed and pulled away with a 6-1 run late in a 25-15 win to even the match at 1-1. Claire Edwards and Mikayla Robinson had three kills apiece in the game, but Carolina as a team hit just .086 and were blocked four times by Kentucky.
SET 3: Kentucky’s servers picked on South Carolina’s passers to start set three, getting three aces in its first 10 points for a 10-5 lead. On top of its service, Kentucky’s offense was clicking, with kills on eight of its first 13 swings. A big block from Robinson and Epps snapped the ‘Cats out of the hot start, and keyed a 4-0 South Carolina run that made it 15-13 in favor of the home side, leading to a UK timeout. Kentucky rallied out of the break with a 3-0 run, but the Gamecocks rode the arm of Courtney Furlong late to pull within two, 23-21. The junior pin had four kills on five attempts and a solo block in the game, including the team’s final three kills of the set.
SET 4: There would be no letup from the home side in the decisive fourth set. The Wildcat offense roared from start to finish, getting 18 kills on 31 swings to finish hitting .548 for the set in a 25-16 win to clinch the set.
Stat of the Match
Kentucky entered the match hitting .314 as a team, but the Gamecocks limited them to a .215 success rate before the fourth set barrage. South Carolina wasn’t able to score points off serve or on the block, getting just one ace and six blocks compared to eight aces and 10 blocks for Kentucky.
South Carolina returns home for a three-game home stand that starts next week. Up first is a Wednesday night match against Missouri, which airs at 6 p.m. nationally on ESPNU. The Gamecocks cap the weekend on Sunday with a rematch with Arkansas that begins at 1:30.
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