Nov. 22, 2017
OLE MISS 3, SOUTH CAROLINA 1
OXFORD, MISS. - South Carolina dropped its final home match of the season Wednesday night, losing 3-1 at Ole Miss (11-25, 25-21, 18-25, 19-25). The Gamecocks are now 12-17 this season, 5-12 in the SEC, heading into Friday night’s finale.
SET 1: The Rebels opened with seven kills on their first 11 swings of the game to build a 9-3 lead, goading the Gamecocks into a quick timeout. What would end up to be an 11-1 run that crossed through the timeout pushed Ole Miss ahead 17-4, and the Gamecocks would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way in a 25-11 rout. The home side put up an incredible 27 digs to limit Carolina to just five kills on 41 swings, leading to a .389 to .000 advantage in hitting percentage.
SET 2: South Carolina was able to terminate on its attacks more efficiently to start game two, and surpassed its set-one kill total before it even reached 15 points. The lead bounced back and forth for most of the game, but a pair of Ole Miss attack errors out of the media timeout sparked a 6-0 run that pushed Carolina to a 19-14 lead. Ole Miss appeared to have cut the lead down to one, 22-21, but the Gamecocks won a challenge that flipped the score to 23-20 and used the Rebels’ ninth attack error of the set to close out the 25-21 win. Alicia Starr led the Gamecock offense with five kills on 10 swings with no errors in the set.
SET 3: Ole Miss claimed the lead from the start of the set thanks to a pair of service aces. Behind the play of Mikayla Shields, the Gamecocks hung around before a 5-0 run tied the same back up at 16. The sophomore right side accounted for seven kills on 13 swings with no errors for the game. Ole Miss answered back with a quick 3-0 run out of a timeout, and the Rebels won 25-18 to take a 2-1 lead.
SET 4: The home side put balls away to start set four, earning its first nine points off kills to jump out to a 9-5 lead. Ole Miss extended its lead out to 16-7 out of a Gamecock timeout, and Carolina would not get any closer than five points for the remainder of the game, falling 25-19.
Stat of the Match
Ole Miss’ defense came into the night ranked second in the SEC in digs per set with a 16.08 average, and the Rebels were even better on Wednesday. They finished with 83 digs, including 27 in the first set alone, to limit Carolina to a .174 hitting percentage. The 83 digs are the most by a Gamecock opponent all season; two more than second-place Alabama had over five sets on Oct. 22.
After celebrating Thanksgiving, the team will host Mississippi State for the season finale and senior night on Friday at 7 p.m. The senior night ceremony for Abreia Epps and Courtney McKeag will be held prior to first serve.
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