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    SEC Volleyball Friday Scoreboard

    volleyBALL RESULTS
    South Carolina 3, Mississippi State 0
    Alabama 3, Kentucky 1
    Tennessee 3, Ole Miss 0
    Florida 3, Mizzou 0
    Texas A&M 3, Auburn 1
    LSU 3, Georgia 1


    South Carolina Records Sweep Over Mississippi State
     

    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. 



    Alabama Takes Care Of Kentucky


    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman outside hitter Laura Steiner had a career-high 20 kills to lead the Alabama women’s volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-23, 15-25, 25-18, 25-20) Southeastern Conference victory over the Kentucky Wildcats on Friday night from Foster Auditorium. With the win, Alabama improves to 16-12 overall and 5-11 in SEC play. The loss drops the Wildcats’ record to 17-9 overall, 11-5 in conference play.
     
    After Kentucky, who is receiving 63 votes in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll, posted .344 and .385 hitting percentages in the first and second sets, the Alabama defense stepped up to hold the Wildcats to -.062 mark in the third set and a .098 average in the fourth set, to limit UK to a .172 hitting percentage in the match. Alabama collected eight blocks on the night and forced the Wildcats into 25 hitting errors, with 17 coming in the final two sets.
     
    Steiner led the way for Alabama on the offensive end with a match-high 20 kills, as she posted a .244 hitting percentage. Kayla Fitterer notched her 31st career-double double as she added 11 kills to go along with a team-high 13 digs. Kanesha Burch chipped in with seven kills, with a .364 hitting percentage from the middle blocker position, while adding a match-high five total blocks.
     
    Andrea McQuaid added six kills, Cristina Arenas had 12 digs and Sierra Wilson had a match-high 44 assists, to go along with six digs and a pair of blocks. 
     
    With the win over Kentucky, Alabama secures at least a .500 record for the year with its 16th victory. The last time the Crimson Tide volleyball program posted a winning record in a season was 2008, when the team finished the year 16-13 overall.
     
    Ashley Frazier was the only player from Kentucky to reach double figures in kills with 10. Sara Schwarzwalker had nine and Whitney Billins, Alexandra Morgan and Lauren O’Conner added eight kills each. UK libero Stephanie Klefot had a match-high 14 digs.
     
    Alabama took an early lead by winning the first set 25-23. The Tide got seven kills by Steiner in the first set as the team posted a .424 hitting percentage in the frame. Kentucky also hit a high percentage in the opening set with a .344 mark.
     
    Kentucky evened the match at 1-1, following a 25-15 victory in the second set. During the frame, the Wildcats outhit the Tide .385 to .129 to cruise to the 10-point victory. Steiner added four more kills in the set to lead the Tide, giving her 11 through the two.
     
    After Kentucky dominated play in the second set, the defense for Alabama stepped up to hold the Wildcats to a -.062 hitting mark in the third. Alabama had a difficult time offensively in the third set as well, as the Tide hit .080 in the frame. UA was helped out by nine hitting errors and six service errors by the Wildcats in the set.
     
    Alabama saved its best set for last, as the Tide posted a .344 hitting percentage in the fourth, while limiting the Wildcats to a .098 mark in the set. UA had just three attacking errors in the set, while getting five kills each from Steiner and Fitterer, who did not commit an error on 11 swings in the set.
     
    Alabama continues Southeastern Conference action next Friday, Nov. 16, with a home match against the South Carolina Gamecocks. First serve for the match between Alabama and South Carolina is slated for 7 p.m. CT, from Foster Auditorium.



    Tennessee Picks Up Sweep Of Ole Miss In Oxford


    OXFORD, Miss. - The Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team won its ninth consecutive match against Ole Miss on Friday night, sweeping the Rebels in convincing fashion, 25-15, 25-18, 25-19, at the Gillom Center in Oxford, Miss.
     
    The Lady Vols have now won nine of their last 10 matches, including four in a row, to improve to 18-6 overall and 11-4 in Southeastern Conference play. Ole Miss falls to 10-14 overall and 4-11 in league action with the loss. UT is now 18-1 in Oxford all-time.
     
    "I'm very excited about the way we played," said head coach Rob Patrick, who improved to 22-2 against Ole Miss all-time with the win. "First of all being on the road - Ole Miss is very good at home they were 6-3 in home matches entering today - and are a very physical team. We had to play very well at the net to be successful and I thought we did a wonderful job of carrying out the gameplan against their hitters. We did a fantastic job at the net with our block, which then led to us being able to dig quite a few balls."
     
    Junior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson led the match with 12 kills and added 11 digs for her 44th career double-double. The Bartlett, Ill., native hit .241 in the match and put down nine of her kills in the opening set. Robinson currently leads the SEC with 17 double-doubles on the season.
     
    Sophomore setter Mary Pollmiller dished out the ball evenly all match as redshirt seniors DeeDee Harrison and Kayla Jeter each added eight kills and posted blazing hitting marks of .533 and .538, respectively. Senior right side hitter Leslie Cikra also put down nine kills for the Big Orange.
     
    "Offensively, I thought Mary did a wonderful job of running the offense," said Patrick. "She really distributed the ball well to a lot of different hitters and got our middles involved, which opened up some things for our pin hitters who were able to hit for some high percentages."
     
    Tennessee, which picked up its eighth sweep of the season, finished the match with a .364 attacking clip.
     
    Pollmiller posted her 14 double-double of the season with 35 assists and 10 digs and played an attacking role as well, accumulating four kills on the night. Sophomore middle blocks Olivia Okoro also added four kills for UT.
     
    Defensively, junior libero Ellen Mullins continued her stellar campaign, averaging an even 5.0 digs per set with a match-high 15 total scoops on the night. Cikra led the match with four blocks, including one solo, while Harrison added three rejections.
     
    "In the last 10 matches, Ellen has averaged over 5.0 digs per game - which is a huge number especially against some of the teams we've played," Patrick said. "Ellen has taken her game to another level. Every match she gives our team another chance to score points by digging balls. Her game is really rounding out completely - and not just the digging and passing - but also with serving. She's a huge reason for our surge in the second half of the season."
     
    Behind Robinson, Tennessee jumped out to a 5-1 lead on the Rebels, but the home squad was able to rattle off five straight to take a 6-5 lead in the first set. The Lady Vols quickly responded behind their junior leader with a 6-0 run and would never look back. The Big Orange would go on to win the first frame, 25-15, behind a .515 hitting percentage and nine kills from Robinson. She hit .667 in the first frame. Jeter and Harrison added three spikes each and hit 1.000 and .600, respectively. UT, which had 19 kills on 33 attacking attempts and just two errors and held Ole Miss to a .111 attacking percentage in the first.
     
    Pollmiller spread the ball around in the second set and took on a more offensive role herself to lead the Lady Vols to a 25-18 second set win and a 2-0 lead in the match at the break. The sophomore setter had three kills in the set - with a perfect attacking percentage - and dished out 10 helpers. Harrison led the way with four kills, while Robinson added three. Jeter and Okoro each added two kills in the game. Defensively, Robinson led the set with five digs, while Mullins added four.
     
    Level at 9-9 in the early portion of the third set, Tennessee used an Ole Miss' service error to spark an 8-0 run and gain control of the frame. During the run, Cikra had two blocks and kill and Harrison added one of each. The Rebels cut the lead to three at 18-15, but again the Lady Vols would respond with a run. A smashed kill down the right line from Cikra gave UT a 19-15 lead and Mullins would serve Tennessee to the next four points, giving the Lady Vols a 23-15 advantage late. After four straight Ole Miss points, Cikra put down her final kill of the match and the Rebels committed an error to seal the 25-19 win for UT and its eighth sweep of the campaign.
     
    The Orange and White is back in action on Sunday in Columbia, S.C., where the Lady Vols will look to complete the season sweep against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Tennessee has won eight straight against SC entering the match. First serve is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET. 



    Gators Handle Missouri In Three Sets


    The No. 16 Florida volleyball team inched one match closer to their hopes of an SEC title with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-19) sweep of the Missouri Tigers on Friday evening at the Hearnes Center. The Gators move to 20-4 on the season and 14-1 in the SEC while the Tigers fell to 17-9 in 2012 and 8-7 in conference play.
     
    Three-time SEC Freshman of the Week Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) turned in 17 kills against the Tigers, hitting .405 on the night. In the backrow, sophomore defensive specialist Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) registered one of the best nights of her young career with a match-high 12 digs despite only playing three rotations.
     
    “I can’t say enough about the performances of our younger players tonight,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Of course, Živa’s kills stand out and she’s had a phenomenal year. If the season ended today, we’d be talking about how Živa had one of the best freshman seasons in program history.
     
    “I think you also have to mention Holly Pole’s play tonight,” Wise continued. “She was great on defense and serve receive. I think tonight was one of the best matches of her career. She’s been playing on a different level recently. It’s like the game has slowed down for her and she just sees everything so well.”
     
    Middle blockers Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) and Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) notched 10 and nine kills, respectively, while setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 40 assists and added five kills of her own.
     
    The Gators hit .368 in the three-set sweep, marking the ninth time this year that Florida has hit above .350. Freshman outside hitter Berkley Whaley (St. Petersburg, Fla.) aided the Gators’ offensive efforts, hitting an errorless four kills on seven swings.
     
    Florida took the opening frame, 25-17. The teams battled to open the set, with a solo stuff by Brauneis and a Mann-Wiggs roof tying the frame at 3-3. A smart tip by Whaley and an Unroe service ace force the Tigers to take timeout, 9-6. A Recek slam down the line took the score to 16-10 and a Mizzou error forced the second Tiger timeout of the stanza, 17-10.
     
    Mizzou scored two straight out of the timeout but the Gators stayed the course and a Mann smash out of the middle halted the Tigers’ streak, 18-12. A Smith slam out of system got the Gators to the double-decade mark at 20-14. Recek tipped over the Tiger block to set up set point, 24-17, and another Recek kill through the seam of the Mizzou block gave the first set to the Orange and Blue, 25-17.
     
    The Gators clinched the second set, 25-16. The second stanza opened similarly to the first, with the lead changing constantly in the opening points. A Brauneis dumped kill sparked a 4-0 Florida rally to lead 6-3. The Gators continued to roll and capitalized on a Tiger hitting error to jump ahead, 9-4, and force Mizzou’s first timeout of the second frame. A Mann solo stuff and kills by Mann and Wiggs put Florida up 13-6 as the Tigers burned their final timeout of the set.
     
    A Tiger ace cut the Gator lead to four, 14-10, forcing a Florida timeout. The Gators picked it up out of the break and got to the double-decade mark with a Brauneis ace, 20-13. A tip off the block for Whaley set up set point for the Gators, 24-16, and a Mizzou hitting error sealed the second stanza for Florida, 25-16.
     
    The third stanza was a back-and-forth affair but the Gators came out on top, 25-19. A tip by Wiggs evened the frame at 4-4 but Mizzou scored two straight to lead 6-4 in the third stanza. A Tiger kill gave Missouri an 8-5 lead in the early going but a Recek kill down the pipe stopped the MU run, down 8-6. A Brauneis-Smith block put the Gators back in the lead, 9-8. Kills by Smith and Brauneis gave Florida a two-point advantage, 11-9. The Tigers scored three straight to take a 12-11 lead but the Gators answered with two of their own to get ahead, 13-12.
     
    A Mann slam off the Brauneis quick set gave Florida a slight edge in the set and a Recek ace put the Florida lead at two, 15-13. Back-to-back Gator errors knotted the set once again, 15-all. A Wiggs overpass kill and ensuing Mizzou error kept the Gators out in front, 18-16. Monserez served up an ace out of the Mizzou timeout to take a three-point lead, 19-16. A Tiger hitting error forced Mizzou’s second timeout of the set, 21-17. A kill off the block for Recek gave the Gators match point, 24-19, and a Mann tip into the campfire defense sealed the set and the match for the Orange and Blue, 25-19.
     
    Florida travels to Oxford, Miss to take on the Ole Miss Rebels on Sunday afternoon. First serve is set for 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 850/900 with Cory Stephens on the call.



    Texas A&M Powers Past Auburn


    AUBURN, Ala.  – Texas A&M won its fifth consecutive match and halted Auburn’s four-match win streak, defeating the Tigers, 25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23 tonight at the Student Activities Center.
     
    A&M, which leads the Southeastern Conference Western Division with a 12-4 mark, improves to 20-5 overall, marking the 14th time in head coach Laurie Corbelli’s 20-year A&M tenure the Aggies have reached the 20-win milestone.
     
    A&M senior opposite Alisia Kastmo tied for match-high honors with 17 kills and completed a double-double by adding 11 digs to lead A&M to the victory. Senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger (13 kills, 14 digs) and junior setter Allie Sawatzky (41 assists, 10 digs), the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week, also posted double-doubles as A&M made late comebacks in the second and fourth sets to win the match.
     
    There were eight ties early in the opening set before A&M scored three unanswered points to take a 13-10 lead. The Aggies, led by Mellinger’s six kills, led the rest of the set, although Auburn got within 22-20 after consecutive A&M attack errors. Mellinger then got a kill and followed with an ace to put the Aggies at set point, 24-20. The Tigers staved off one set point, tipping the ball in for a kill, but Stephanie Minnerly and Sierra Patrick blocked Auburn’s next attack attempt to clinch the winning point.
     
    Auburn had the hot hand early in the second set, but the Maroon and White would be on top at the end. The Tigers used a 7-0 run to break away from a 1-1 tie and built their biggest lead at 8-1. The Aggies would claw their way back, getting within a point at 19-18 following a back-row kill by Kastmo and an ace by Sawatzky. A&M was unable to take the lead as the Tigers later used a 4-1 run to be serving for the set at 24-20. Kastmo came through with a kill to keep the Aggies alive, and Auburn couldn’t find the court on the next three plays, hitting long, hitting wide and hitting into a block by Sawatzky and Lindsey Miller, which tied the set at 24-24. Miller then gave the Aggies their first lead of the frame with a kill, and Kastmo closed out the comeback with a set-winning ace.
     
    The roles were somewhat reversed in the third set as A&M jumped out to an 8-1 advantage but was unable to hold the lead as Auburn came back to win the set. The Tigers had cut the margin to 14-12 and then scored five unanswered points to take their first lead. Auburn went on to build its largest lead at 21-17, but a kill by Miller on the slide attack and a kill by Mellinger put A&M within 21-19. Auburn countered with a kill and an ace to go up 23-19 and later was at set point, 24-20, equaling its largest lead. The Tigers then served into the net and hit wide on the following two plays to put the Aggies within 24-22 before Camila Jersonsky put down her sixth kill of the stanza to close out the win for the Tigers and prevent another late A&M comeback win.
     
    There were 12 ties and four lead changes in the fourth set. The Tigers used a 5-1 fun to equal their largest lead at 14-11 before a kill by Kastmo started a three-point run for the Aggies, tying the score at 14. A&M tied the score again at 15-15 on another Kastmo kill, but Auburn killed an A&M overpass and then got a huge stuff block to put the Tigers up, 17-15. Kastmo then posted one of her seven kills in the set, and libero Megan Pendergast, who led all players with 16 digs, strategically set the ball over to a wide open corner in the Auburn backcourt for a kill to knot the score at 17-17.
     
    Miller and Sawatzky gave the Aggies the lead on the next play with a block. A&M continued to build on its lead, stretching its run to seven consecutive points for a 22-17 advantage. But then the Tigers rallied, scoring five unanswered points to tie the score at 22-22. Miller posted a kill, but A&M hit long on the next play to keep the set tied at 23-23. Mellinger then got a kill from the right side to put the Aggies at set point. Auburn, which was outhit in the match, .205 to .188, but led the Aggies in kills, 61-54, hit long on the final play, giving A&M the win.
     
    Jersonsky led the Tigers with 17 kills. Sarah Bullock and Katherine Culwell, who were both teammates with Mellinger on the Skyline Juniors team that took second at the 2008 USA Volleyball Junior National Championships, finished with 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
     
    A&M, which improved to 8-1 in away matches, finished with 11 blocks, a season high in a four-set match, as Sawatzky tied her career high with five block assists and Minnerly and Miller also had five block assists apiece. A&M also finished with seven aces, including three by Sawatzky.
     
    The Aggies continue their road swing as they take on Georgia for the first time as SEC foes on Sunday in Athens. The match against the Bulldogs begins at 1 p.m. (CT) and will be televised by Comcast/Cox.



    Leak Leads LSU Past Georgia


    ATHENS, Ga. - Cati Leak banged home a career-high 16 kills on a career-best .484 hitting percentage to lift the LSU volleyball team to a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Georgia [28-30, 25-17, 28-26, 25-21] Friday at the Ramsey Center.
     
    For Leak, she tacked on 12 digs and added five blocks to claim her first double-double since the opening weekend of the season.
     
    "What a breakout performance from Cati Leak," head coach Fran Flory said. "Truly, she was the difference maker in the match. We worked hard in practice during the week of finding her a different offensive rhythm and tempo with Malorie Pardo. I'm happy that extra hard work paid off for both of them during tonight's match. I also thought Malorie did a fantastic job of creating and making the right choices for our offense." 
     
    The Tigers (12-13, 8-8 SEC) extended their season's best winning streak to three matches on the opening leg of a four-match road swing, while Georgia (13-12, 7-8 SEC) was handed its fourth consecutive loss.
     
    A key to the victory was LSU's 19-11 blocking edge. The 19 blocks for the Tigers are a season-high fueled by Marissa Maas' career-best nine stuffs. She also matched a season watermark with five kills.
     
    Malorie Pardo dished out 57 assists and registered 17 digs en route to her SEC-leading 11th double dip during conference action. She sparked a quartet of hitters to double figure kills for the first time on the season.
     
    Madie Jones connected for a team-leading 18 kills and has provided double digit spikes in all 12 of LSU's victories on the season. The 18 spikes for Jones enabled her to eclipse Meagan Davis (1998-2001) for 17th place on the program's all-time kills list. She also totaled six blocks, one away from a career-high.
     
    Helen Boyle came away with 14 kills, 13 digs and three blocks whereas Desiree Elliott belted 12 kills on a .308 hitting clip to go along with six blocks.
     
    LSU's back row notched another stellar effort sparked by Meghan Mannari's 28 digs. It marked the sixth time in her last eight outings that the senior libero has surpassed the 20-dig plateau. Sam Delahoussaye also corralled nine scoops for the Tigers.    
     
    "Absolutely, a great performance by our entire team and a great leadership effort from our seniors," Flory said. "We've been looking for that type of poise and composure all season. We've talked about it a lot, but this was the first time that we were able to have it throughout an entire match. I'm proud of our players for making big plays in critical situations."
     
    Georgia was led by Tirah Le'au, who popped 19 kills. Kaylee Kehoe [30 assists, 10 digs] and Brittany Northcutt [14 kills, 13 digs] also picked up double-doubles. Allison Summers collected a match-leading 31 digs for the Bulldogs.
     
    LSU continues its four-match road swing with its first trip in program history to Missouri. Sunday's first serve is set for 1:30 p.m. from the Hearnes Center. Live stats and a free live audio webcast is available inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live.