Gamecocks Sweep Mississippi State to Guarantee .500 Season
Nov. 9, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Behind the setting of senior Taylor Bruns and the attacks from junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, South Carolina (15-12, 4-12 SEC) swept past Mississippi State, 25-18, 25-23, 25-12, on Friday night at the Volleyball Competition Facility. The win assures the Gamecocks of at least a .500 record for 2012, just the second time in the last decade the program has made that threshold.
Bruns, who returned after a weekend off due to injury, had five kills and 38 assists, helping the Gamecocks to a .411 hitting percentage, the second-highest mark this season. Thévenin provide most of the power, posting 17 kills and a .500 hitting percentage in the outing. Junior libero Paige Wheeler had 11 digs, while outside hitters Jenna Allen and Bethanie Thomas both added 10. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Cara Howley had eight kills, an ace and three block assists, the latter leading all players.
Taylor Scott led Mississippi State (4-21, 0-16 SEC) with eight kills. Roxanne McVey posted 13 digs. Chanelle Baker had seven kills and two aces.
South Carolina used two runs to take a 25-18 first-set win. Thévenin posted three kills to start the set, and Thomas added a service ace to put the Gamecocks on top for good with a 4-0 run. South Carolina posted a three-point stand, again on Thomas's serve but powered by two Howley kills, to stretch the lead to 13-6. The Bulldogs drew to within three at 17-14, but the Gamecocks posted pairs of points on three occasions to almost close out the set. A Bulldog service error ended it at 25-18. Thévenin had seven kills, and South Carolina hit .593 in the first set.
The Gamecocks came from behind to take the second set, 25-23. Mississippi State posted a seven-point skein to take a 9-5 lead, with both of Baker's aces coming in the run. The Gamecocks regained the edge on a five-point run, with the Gamecocks getting kills and a block from Bruns and freshman middle blocker Darian Dozier in the sequence that made it 13-12. The Bulldogs took the lead again at 17-15 after a kill and block assist from Baker, but South Carolina claimed five of the final seven points take the set. Another Bulldog service error finished it. Wheeler posted six digs in the second, while Thévenin had six kills and a solo block as well.
Hitting .560 in the frame, South Carolina won the clinching third set 25-15. The Gamecocks went ahead 18-6 before the Bulldogs could post back-to-back points. Howley and Allen ended it with the lone block of the frame for the Garnet and Black. Six different Gamecocks had multiple kills in the set.
South Carolina won every stat category except for aces, where the teams tied with three. South Carolina's last season with at least a .500 record came in 2008, when the team went 21-9.
The Gamecocks finish the home weekend with a 1:30 p.m. EST contest against Tennessee on Sunday at the VCF.