Nov. 15, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina volleyball team battled back and forth with Alabama on Friday night but came up short in each set, as the Crimson Tide earned the sweep by the scores of 28-26, 25-23 and 25-18 in front of 1,014 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
With the loss, the Gamecocks are now 12-15 on the season and 3-11 in the SEC. Alabama improves its record to 21-7 overall and 8-5 in league play.
South Carolina finished the match with the edge in kills (45-37), assists (41-36) and blocks (6.0-5.0), while the Crimson Tide finished with an advantage in hitting percentage (.206-.117) and digs (46-43). One of the deciding factors in the match proved to be serving. Alabama delivered five aces, while the Gamecocks gave up 13 points on service errors.
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin paced the Gamecocks with her eighth double-double of the season as she finished with a match-high 18 kills with a .310 hitting percentage, 11 digs and three blocks. Freshman outside hitter Dessaa Legros matched her second-highest output of the season with 10 kills, while sophomores Sarah Blomgren and Darian Dozier chipped in six and five kills, respectively. Freshman setter Helen Récaborde had a stellar performance, delivering a career-high 34 assists, seven digs and two blocks, and freshman middle Jacqy Angermiller produced a team-high four blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Mattie Weldy led Alabama with 11 kills, while freshman outside hitter Brittany Thomas, freshman middle Krystal Rivers and junior middle Katherine White pitched in seven kills apiece. Thomas also had nine digs, and White contributed a team-high four blocks. Sophomore setter Sierra Wilson distributed 34 assists and collected five digs in the win.
The Crimson Tide built an early 10-7 lead in the first set, but the Gamecocks went on a 3-0 run, including kills by Dozier and Angermiller to tie the match. Alabama regained the lead and went ahead 24-20 late after a kill by Andrea McQuaid, but South Carolina made a furious comeback behind two kills by Thévenin and three Crimson Tide attack errors to take a 25-24 lead. Alabama scored the next two points before Thévenin came through with another kill to tie it at 26-26. However, the Crimson Tide scored two straight to win the set 28-26.
The second set proved to be just as wild as the teams played through 15 ties and four lead changes. Alabama built a 23-20 cushion late in the frame, but the Gamecocks refused to go away once again as they went on a 3-0 run to tie it up behind kills from Dozier and Legros. But it wasn't enough as Alabama answered by scoring the next two points to win the set 25-23 and take a 2-0 lead.
The Gamecocks were unable to make a comeback in the third set, as Alabama had its best offensive effort of the night, hitting .346 for the frame. South Carolina fell behind 17-12 midway through the set and could not recover as it didn't pull closer than three points the rest of the way.
South Carolina returns to action on Sunday against seventh-ranked Missouri. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
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