The Bulldogs get back in action on Tuesday, Sept. 10, when they travel to Statesboro, Ga., for a 6 p.m., match against the Georgia Southern Eagles. Georgia returns home next weekend, Sept. 13-14 for the Benson’s Hospitality Invitational which will take place in Stegeman Coliseum.
CLEMSON, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team won the first two sets against Winthrop on Saturday afternoon but it was unable to hold on, as the Eagles claimed the next three to win the match by the scores of 25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 22-25 and 12-15 at Jervey Gymnasium.
The Gamecocks fall to 3-3 with the loss, while Winthrop improves to 6-1.
South Carolina outhit the Eagles .219 to .144, and both teams finished the match with 10 team blocks. For the third straight match, senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin recorded more than 20 kills with a 23-kill performance on Saturday. Thévenin, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, also had nine digs.
Sophomore Sarah Blomgren contributed 14 kills while hitting .357, while freshman KoKo Atoa-Williams produced 12 kills and four block assists. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil filled the stat sheet with 49 assists, seven kills, five digs and four block assists. Junior libero Michaela Christiaansen and freshman Megan Kirkland recorded 20 and 13 digs, respectively in the loss.
Winthrop had four players reach double figures in kills, including 14 apiece from Rachel Lenz and Irene Ojukwu. Alina Sopizhuk and Brianna Gray tallied 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Setter Jessie Vivic produced a double-double with 49 assists and 14 digs.
South Carolina fell behind 4-0 early in the first set and trailed 8-4 before scoring six straight points to take the lead behind a pair of aces by Thévenin and a kill by Atoa-Williams. Winthrop tied the match at 10-10 on a kill by Jessie Vivic, but Thévenin answered with a kill to put the Gamecocks in front for good. South Carolina led by as many as six points down the stretch on its way to winning the set 25-21.
Winthrop started strong again in the second set, building a 4-2 lead, and it led 13-11 midway through after a South Carolina attack error. However, the Gamecocks went on a 7-2 run capped by a Blomgren kill to take an 18-15 lead. South Carolina pushed its lead to 23-17 on a Winthrop attack error, and Thévenin closed out the set in the Gamecocks’ favor with back-to-back kills. South Carolina was zoned in on the attack, hitting .444 for the frame.
The Gamecocks seemed to be in control of the third set as they built a 12-5 lead, but Winthrop went on a 15-6 run to take a 20-18 lead on a kill by Ojukwu. South Carolina came back to tie it up at 21-21 on a kill by Thévenin. However, the Eagles scored four out of the next five points to extend the match to four sets.
With the fourth set tied at 7-7, Winthrop broke off a 5-1 run to take a 12-8 lead. The Eagles extended their lead to 19-11 on a Gamecock attack error. South Carolina cut Winthrop’s lead to two on three occasions down the stretch, with the last being 24-22. A Gamecock attack error ended the comeback, however, as the match went to a fifth set.
The final set saw eight ties and five lead changes, with the last tie being 10-10. The Eagles then outscored South Carolina 5-2 to claim the match.
The Gamecocks return to action next weekend in the Duke Blue Devil Classic in Durham, N.C. South Carolina will play Utah State (10 a.m.) and Liberty (5 p.m.) on Friday and Duke (1:30 p.m.) on Saturday.
UT Named Tournament Champions
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Competing for the tournament title for the second weekend in a row, the Lady Vols capped off the Country Inns & Suites Invitational with a 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-12, 25-20) over Charlotte to be named tournament champions. UT improves to 6-1 on the season.
"I was very happy with the progress we made as a team as a whole and as individuals as they went through this tournament," head coach Rob Patrick said.
Senior Ellen Mullins, sophomore Lexi Dempsey and freshman Jamie Lea were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Mullins earned Tournament MVP honors. It is the second-straight weekend that Mullins has picked up All-Tournament accolades.
"It all starts with our defense. Ellen Mullins was the MVP, which she deserves average seven digs a set," Patrick said. "But Bridgette Villano, Nikki Brice and Megan Hatcher did an unbelievable job of starting our offense with their passing, and continuing our defense with their dominance. That's what Tennessee volleyball is all about is relentless defense. Those four young ladies did a fantastic job when they were in the matches."
"All of us go in there and play our hardest," Mullins said. "We do passing and digging every day. It's fun to play next to them. They're doing a great job."
UT jumped to an early 10-3 lead in the first set, and continued with strong defense and hitting. Freshman Ashley Mariani had a team-best six kills, while senior Whitney Heeres added five during the first set. Lea hit a team-leading .714 with five kills on seven attacks with no errors. As a team, UT hit at a .432 mark with Dempsey dishing out 17 assists. The Lady Vols claimed the first set 25-17.
The Lady Vols opened the second set on a 5-0 run and never relinquished the lead. Lea and freshman Raina Hembry led the team with four kills apiece, while Hembry and Mariani hit at a .500 clip. Dempsey dished out 13 assists in the set, helping the team to a .333 hitting percentage in the set. UT took the set, 25-12, and went up 2-0 in the match.
The two squads battled back and forth for the lead before Tennessee went on a 6-0 run to go up 14-9. The Lady Vols would hold on to their lead and win the third and final set, 25-20, sweeping the 49ers, 3-0.
UT hosts the Comcast Lady Vol Classic Sept. 5-7 in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Kentucky Sweeps ETSU and Goes 3-0 on the Weekend to Win Kentucky Classic
LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the seventh time in the eight year history of the event, the No. 21 Kentucky volleyball team won the Kentucky Classic with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-20) sweep of East Tennessee State Saturday night in Memorial Coliseum.
The Wildcats (4-2) went a perfect 3-0 on their home court in the four team, six match tournament. After a five-set win over VCU Friday night in its first game, UK swept Liberty in Saturday morning’s first match. UK returns to the court Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the Wildcats host in-state rival and 17th-ranked Louisville at Memorial Coliseum.
Junior Jackie Napper was named the Kentucky Classic MVP, while sophomore Morgan Bergren and freshman Anni Thomasson were named to the All-Tournament Team.
“I like the way this team concentrates, they’re really engaged in each and every point,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “Even when we lost a couple, we were engaged, and when we won a couple, we were engaged. That’s one of the best things this team does.”
Napper registered a team-high-tying eight digs and six assists in the Classic finale. On the weekend, the defensive setter posted 43 digs, 18 assists and one kill.
“It feels good, I definitely think our block has a big part of that (our defense),” Napper said. “We did a good job of channeling the ball to me, so I was able to dig a lot of balls. Our serving was really aggressive, so we were able to get the other team out of system.”
Thomasson’s weekend was highlighted by her first career double-double in Saturday morning’s sweep of Liberty. Bergren led the Cats in assists each match, with 36, 40 and 29 helpers in the three contests, respectively.
Junior Lauren O’Conner paced the Wildcats with a team-best 14 kills against ETSU. Bergren and seniors Whitney Billings and Alexandra Morgan all contributed eight kills apiece in the balanced offensive attack.
“We’re still tweaking our lineup a little bit, trying to figure out what’s best,” Skinner said. “I think Lauren O’Conner playing better today and Anni Thomasson stepping up gives us some more flexibility on the outside. Defensively we have to continue to get better. Our blocking is okay, but I think we can be a much better blocking team. Positively, we’re killing the ball well, so I’m pretty happy with that.”
The opening set was the closest set of the match and featured 46 points of back-and-forth action. The frame featured five lead changes and 14 ties. With the score knotted at 10, the Bucs took an 11-10 lead, and while they allowed the Wildcats to tie it several times, UK would not take the lead again until it snapped a 20-20 tie to go ahead for the remainder of the set. Bergren led UK with four kills and 13 assists in the opening set.
The second set began with two straight points by ETSU, followed by three-straight UK points. It was tied at four when the UK offense picked things up in a big way. The Wildcats went on a 14-3 run and led 18-7. The next two points were harder to get, as the Bucs countered with six points of their own to cut Kentucky’s lead to 20-13. Skinner and UK called a timeout, and what followed was a 5-2 run to close out the set to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Like many sets on the weekend for UK, the third frame against ETSU began as a back-and-forth affair. The Wildcats led by as many as three, and never lost the lead, but it wasn’t until it was 10-9 that Kentucky went on a 7-2 run to break it open and make it a 17-11 set. The Bucs would get to within four at 19-15 but no closer, as the Wildcats closed the match for a 25-20 victory.
Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.
Bulldogs Surrender A Pair Of Hard-Fought Matches In Waco
WACO, Texas – Facing their stiffest competition of the season, the Mississippi State volleyball team (3-4) surrendered a pair of hard-fought matches on the final day of the Baylor Classic to Tulsa (6-1) and Baylor (2-5).
In the opening match of the day, the Bulldogs rallied to force a fifth set after falling behind 2-0 early in the match against 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Tulsa.
“For such a young team to battle back like we did was impressive, “ MSU coach Jenny Hazelwood said. “We could have played better early on but our girls really battled the last three sets. We will learn from this and be able to grind out these wins against strong teams later in the season.”
The Bulldogs and Golden Hurricanes battled back-and-forth with 10 ties and four lead changes in the first set but MSU ultimately fell 25-20. Tulsa again jumped up in the second set and rolled to a 25-17 win as State could never get anything going.
MSU stole momentum with a 7-0 run early in the third set. Clinging to a 4-3 lead, a Brooke Sassin kill sent the Bulldogs on the run to gain an 11-3 advantage that they never surrendered. State claimed a 25-22 victory behind a .308 hitting percentage, its best of the match.
The fourth set was dominated by freshman Kimmy Gardiner as she racked up six of her 19 kills. MSU rolled to a 4-0 lead early and forced a Tulsa timeout. The Golden Hurricanes would comeback to tie it at five and the duo battled with seven ties and four lead changes. The Bulldogs would eventually seal the deal with a strong 25-18 victory.
Tulsa would claim three of the first four points in the fifth set to seize momentum. The two teams remained deadlocked much of the match with eight ties but the Golden Hurricanes eventually claimed victory at 15-12.
Gardiner finished with her third-consecutive double-double as she tallied 19 kills and 13 digs. Taylor Scott (15 kills, 22 digs) and Suzanne Horner also recorded double-doubles (46 assists, 11 digs).
Sassin registered 11 kills to go along with four each from Horner, Chelsea Duhs and Alex Warren. Roxanne McVey also contributed 22 digs.
As a team, MSU recorded a season-high 12 blocks against only five from the Golden Hurricanes. Warren led the way individually with eight.
In the nightcap, Mississippi State jumped up to an early 1-0 lead with a 25-22 first-set victory. Gardiner picked up right where she left off with six kills in the set. The Bulldogs jumped up early and never looked back.
The Bears seized momentum early in the second set and never let up. After falling behind 5-1, Hazelwood was forced to call a timeout and the Bulldogs were able to battle back and tie at 11. MSU had a chance to end it with a set point at 24-23 but Baylor kept clawing for a 27-25 comeback victory. The Bears would go on to win the third and fourth sets 25-17 and 25-18.
Gardiner recorded yet another double-double with a career-high 20 kills and 14 digs. She also had two blocks and two aces.
Scott also recorded her second double-double of the day with 10 kills and 17 digs. McVey added 25 digs while Sassin notched a career-high 15 kills. Horner tallied 47 assists.
Gardiner and Scott also received Baylor Classic All-Tournament team honors.
Up next for the Bulldogs is a return trip home for the Bulldog Invitational where they will host Niagara and Wofford on Sept. 13 and 14. MSU will then wrap up its nonconference slate with a trip to Nashville, Tenn., for the Belmont Bruin Classic.<
No. 8 Gator Volleyball Knocks Off No. 2 Stanford in Nike Big Four Showdown
AUSTIN, Texas - The No. 8 Gator volleyball team kicked off the final Nike Big Four Classic in stunning fashion, upsetting the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal, 3-1 (28-26, 25-17, 18-25, 25-22). Florida received double-digit kill contributions from sophomore outside hitter Živa Recek with 19, senior middle blocker Chloe Mann with 15 and sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi tallying 13.
Senior setter Taylor Brauneis dished out 50 assists against the Cardinal, directing the Gator offense to a .326 hitting percentage. Brauneis also scooped 11 digs for her fifth career double-double and second of the season in as many matches.
LSU Grinds Out Four-Setter at Rice
HOUSTON – Briana Holman and Katie Lindelow provided their first double-doubles en route to Rice Invitational All-Tournament Team honors, and the LSU volleyball team earned a hard-fought four-set victory over Rice [26-28, 25-15, 25-19, 31-29] Saturday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
LSU (6-0) racked up a season’s best 19 blocks and converted on 60-of-92 sideout attempts to claim a 65 percent ratio. The Tigers have won now 19 of 22 all-time meetings versus Rice (1-5).
Malorie Pardo directed LSU’s offense to 66 kills and a .288 team hitting percentage. She filled the stats sheet with 61 assists, six digs, four blocks and three blocks. For the second consecutive match, Pardo matched her career-high with four stuffs.
Holman cranked 15 kills on a .423 hitting percentage to go along with a career-best 10 blocks. It marked her fourth straight match with double figure kills as the DeSoto, Texas native garnered tournament MVP honors.
Lindelow, an all-tournament team pick, registered a career-high 10 kills and 11 digs. She knocked six of her spikes as LSU erased a 21-14 fourth-set deficit.
On the back row, Haley Smith stretched out for a career-best 24 digs in her second career start at the libero position. Laura Whalen added 11 scoops and was a perfect 21-for-21 in reception attempts.
“I’m thought our team came out and played within their comfort zone after losing the first set,” head coach Fran Flory said. “We had some stabilizing forces on our side of the net. Malorie made some excellent decisions and did some great things as a veteran setter when we needed her to. I thought our blocking also came through in a big way during critical situations, and Haley made some tremendous plays on the back row. Not only did she make the play, she accurately dug the ball to the target which provided transition opportunities on offense. Lastly, Katie decided that she was going to be an offensive factor for us late in the fourth set. It’s not easy when you ask someone to play as many rolls as Katie does for our team. We knew it was going to take her some time to find an offensive rhythm, but we’re glad she found it tonight.”
Cati Leak compiled a solid all-around effort with 21 kills, seven digs and three blocks for the TIgers. Khourtni Fears tied her career-high with nine kills on a .500 hitting ratio and recorded six blocks to come away with all-tournament accolades. LSU also received seven kills and six blocks from Madi Mahaffey.
Rice was led by Mariah Riddlesprigger’s 16 kills, Sara Blasier’s 42 assists and Danielle Arenas’ 23 digs.
LSU continues its three-weekend road swing with a pair of matches against Miami. Friday’s first serve is on-tap for 6 p.m. CT followed by a 4:30 p.m. CT opening serve on Saturday.