South Carolina Takes Down Alabama in Four Sets
Nov. 12, 2010
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A solid all-around effort propelled South Carolina (6-20, 3-13 SEC) past Alabama (10-16, 2-14 SEC) in four sets on Friday night in front of 532 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
Freshman outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led the Gamecocks with 17 kills on a career-best .500 hitting percentage and was one of two players with a double-double, adding 11 digs. Senior setter Jordan Bradosky had the other with 16 assists and 11 digs. Senior libero Hannah Lawing posted a match-best 20 digs while adding four kills, with sophomore outside hitter Christina Glover contributed 12 digs. Redshirt sophomore Olivia Ryder put away 12 kills; junior middle blocker Teresa Stenlund tallied seven kills and seven block assists, and sophomore setter Taylor Bruns adding 29 assists and four service aces. Kayla Fitterer stood as the only Alabama player in double figures in kills, compiling 16. Mary Catherine Aune added 15 digs.
The Gamecocks ran out to an 8-0 lead in the first and never looked back in a 25-12 win. Bruns played a big role in the opening run, landing three aces in the first six points. The Tide's only significant run came with the Gamecocks at set point, as Alabama fought off three. But Ryder put down her fourth swing of the set to end the frame. Thévenin had five kills without an error in the first, while the Gamecocks held the Tide to a .069 hitting percentage.
The teams traded runs in the second set, with South Carolina making the last one to take the frame, 25-19. Three-point swings were normal early, with Alabama's two topping the one from Carolina en route to the 12-10 lead. But the Gamecocks answered with a five-point stand to retake the advantage at 15-12. Alabama fought back to tie things again at 19-19 with a four-point skein. South Carolina got the last laugh in the second, as senior outside hitter Megan Laughlin had three kills and two block assists in the final six points to hand the frame to the Gamecocks. Laughlin tallied five of her eight kills in the second. The Gamecock defense did its job again, as Alabama hit just .054 in the second.
South Carolina looked to put things away in three, holding a two-point lead for half of the set. But Alabama came back to take the lead, first on a four-point stand that made it 19-16 that included kills by Fitterer and Calli Johnson and a block by the twosome. The Gamecocks fought to take a 21-20 lead, the last of the four-point run coming on a Thévenin ace. The Crimson Tide, however, won five of the last six points to take the set, 25-22. Fitterer had a solo block and the capping ace to close the set after getting six kills earlier in the frame.
Alabama kept the momentum rolling early in the fourth, taking a 7-4 lead at the start. But Bruns' tough serve took the fight out of the Tide, as the Gamecocks ripped off eight-straight points to make it 16-10. Thevenin had three-consecutive kills at one point and accounted for half of the run alone. The freshman's serve helped the Gamecocks widen the gap to 19-11, as Lawing, who played outside hitter for the final set, had two unassisted kills in the three-point stand. A service error by the Tide ended the set at 25-17 and the match. Thévenin posted six kills in the fourth, while Bradosky had six of her digs in the frame as well. Freshman Paige Wheeler tallied five digs at the libero spot.
The Gamecocks won every stat category, including a 10-5 lead in blocks, a .294-.131 advantage in hitting percentage and an 11-dig margin (69-58).
South Carolina hosts Mississippi State at 7 p.m. on Saturday, as the Gamecocks honor a trio of players on Senior Night. A reception will follow the contest in the Volleyball Competition Facility foyer.