- South Carolina def. Mississippi State 3-2 (19-25, 25-17 ,26-24, 22-25, 15-6)
- South Carolina moves to 8-5, 1-0 SEC; Mississippi State falls to 9-7, 0-1 SEC
- Starkville, Mississippi
- Attendance: 553
- Box Score
STARKVILLE, Miss. – South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson had to wait it out as his team fought for a five-set SEC opening win over Mississippi State, but once it was over the coach could rest in his 100th win with the Gamecocks.
Coming into the season, Swanson boasted a 92-93 mark in six seasons at the helm. Thus far in 2017, the Gamecocks have a 8-5 record including Friday’s victory.
Swanson turned to sophomore right side Mikayla Shields (15 kills), freshman middle Mikayla Robinson (13), and sophomore middles Alicia Starr (11) and Claire Edwards (9) to lift his team to victory on Friday. Shields rounded out a double-double with 20 digs, while Robinson, Starr and Edwards checked in with four blocks apiece. The Gamecocks outhit the Bulldogs .250 to .079 with help from 10 blocks.
Swanson was 50-61 at UTEP in his first collegiate head coaching gig from 2002-05.
Swanson said after the game he was “happy for the win, but wished it wasn’t so stressful.” See more below.
Courtesy: South Carolina Athletics
South Carolina volleyball opened the SEC season with a 3-2 win at Mississippi State (9-7, 0-1 SEC) Friday night, 19-25, 25-17, 26-24, 22-25, 15-6. Gamecock head coach Scott Swanson earned his 100th win at the helm of the program, and the team opened the conference slate with a road win for the first time since 2003.
SET 1: A slew of errors early put the Gamecocks (8-5, 1-0 SEC) behind big in the opening game. The Bulldogs built an 18-6 lead before Carolina was able to get back into system offensively. Mississippi State actually had a lower hitting percentage for the set, .158 to Carolina’s .207, but the early hole would be too big to overcome. The Gamecocks fell, 25-19.
SET 2: The Gamecocks were able to rebound on the road, and evened the match with a 25-17 win in set two. The offense hit .500, with Mikayla Shields leading the team with four kills, and five blocks limited State to just a .107 success rate. Tough service from Emma Lock gave the team a key run early, breaking a 9-all tie with a quick 3-0 burst to force a timeout. Carolina would not trail beyond the second point of the set, and scored seven of the last 10 points to close out the win.
SET 3: South Carolina built a big lead early in the critical third set, with Lock serving the team to a 6-0 run from the opening whistle. Mississippi State would chip away at the lead, and slowly worked their way back to trail just 10-9 soon after. The Gamecocks would maintain the lead until late, when a 3-0 Bulldog run turned a 23-21 Carolina advantage into a set point opportunity for the home side. A service error knotted the set up at 24-all, and a clutch kill from Alicia Starr and a Bulldog error gave the Gamecocks the key 2-1 lead in the match.
SET 4: Errors came back to hurt Carolina in the fourth, and the Bulldogs used it to pull out the 25-22 win and force five. Nine of MSU’s first 12 points came off either a South Carolina service error or unforced attacking error, and the Gamecocks would end up hitting just .189. They would not be able to draw even again for the set, and the conference opener would go to game five.
SET 5: The final set was a game of runs, with Carolina going ahead 6-0 from the first serve, followed by a 4-0 spurt from the Bulldogs. Brooke Gostomski helped Carolina respond with a 4-0 that pushed the lead back up to 10-4, thanks to her tough service. Mississippi State would be unable to match the run, and Carolina ran away with a convincing 15-6 win to claim its first five-set victory of 2017.
Stat of the Match
South Carolina out-blocked Mississippi State 10-2 for the night, and the Bulldogs hit just .079 in the match, the lowest by a Gamecock opponent since Gardner-Webb on Sept. 17, 2016.
- Mikayla Shields‘ 20 are a new personal best, breaking the 19 she had against Miami (Ohio). She now has six double-doubles this season.
- Shields (20 digs) and Aubrey Ezell (21 digs) combined to be the first Gamecock duo to each get 20 digs in a match since Nov. 19, 2014.
- South Carolina had started the SEC season with a win on the road since 2003.
- The Gamecocks committed 18 service errors in the match, the most since Aug. 31, 2006 against Clemson.
The team will have a week to prepare for its next match, when it will host LSU Friday at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network. The Tigers are coming off a convincing 3-0 win over Texas A&M to open their conference schedule Friday.
Courtesy: Mississippi State Athletics
In a hard-fought, five-set showdown, Mississippi State dropped its SEC opener against South Carolina Friday night.
MSU (9-7, 0-1 SEC) fell to USC (8-5, 0-1 SEC) in five (25-19, 17-25, 24-26, 25-22, 6-15) at Newell-Grissom, but must regroup fast as it now travels to Tennessee on Sunday.
“We started out really well with energy, but I think we lost some aggression,” third-year coach David McFatrich said. “I was proud of the way we fought back even though we weren’t hitting on all cylinders, but somehow we took it to five. We made so many unforced errors. We’re a young team, but that has to stop. We have to do better and play with pace.”
The first set displayed dominance from the beginning, as MSU took an early 10-point lead for most of the game. Freshman Gabby Zgunda had three aces that contributed to the early lead. From there, the Bulldogs were in control as they capitalized on errors from the Gamecocks winning set one, 25-19.
Making it different from the first, set two went back and forth the majority of the game. MSU battled hard, but fell behind at the end. South Carolina capitalized off of errors and won the set, 25-17.
The Gamecocks came out swinging in the top of the third taking an early 6-0 lead. The Bulldogs then countered with kills and took an advantage over errors as they tied the set up at 23-23. The Dawgs had set point at 24-23, but a service error was the difference as the two teams tied it up again before South Carolina took set three, 26-24.
Set four was a tight battle as both teams stayed between three points of each other the majority of the game. Mississippi State only trailed once and took an early lead off of errors. A kills battled ensued to make it a thriller. Back-to-back kills by Jelena Vujcin and Sara Maddox sealed the set for the Bulldogs, 25-22.
MSU fought hard, but kills were the difference in the deciding set as the Gamecocks won, 15-6.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs travel to Knoxville to face the Volunteers (7-3, 0-1 SEC). First serve is set for 12:30 p.m. CT in Thompson on SEC Network +.
– Harris earned 23 digs and is now 40 digs away from tying the career record.
– Vujcin had 17 kills and 20.0 points.
– Khristian Carr had 10 kills and 11.0 points.
– Laura Rose Gray had 11 kills, a .391 hitting percentage and 11.0 points.