KENNESAW, GA. -In the first game of the fall, South Carolina, n° 24, dominated Kennesaw State (4-3) for a straight-sets victory in Georgia on Thursday night. The Gamecocks (6-1) are now winners of four consecutive games. Kyla Manning and Riley Whitesides led the team with 10 sales each, and the defense limited the Owls to 25 sales in the three sets.
First SET: the Gamecocks stormed to a 7-2 lead to start the night, but Kennesaw State used its deadly service game to respond quickly. Combined with three errors behind the service line for South Carolina, The Owls regained the 14-12 lead and forced a timeout. After that break, however, the strike came to life for South Carolina and a 5-0 run consisting of two takedowns by Mikayla Robinson and two tandem blocks by Robinson and Claire Wilson pulled the team out of 16-point standing. Kennesaw State would not threaten again in the game, a 25-20 final that featured 21 digs for South Carolina and a.270 up .050 advantage in the team’s hit rate.
Second SET: the strike took over in the second set, but the service game remained an important scenario. Kennesaw State went into the night with nearly three times as many aces as it allowed its opponents in the first six games, ranking 20th in the nation in aces per set. However, it was his mistakes behind the line that made all the difference in a 25-17 score to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead in the game. South Carolina’s defense remained strong, limiting the home team to nine wins and one draw.067 completion rate in the game.
Third SET: Manning served a big early run for the visitors to kick off the third, turning a 5-5 tie into a 12-5 game and South Carolina would not look back with a 25-17 score. Kennesaw State would be unable to recover from the first inning, further hampered by the renewed effectiveness of South Carolina’s strike. The Gamecocks had 15 finishs on one.278 success rate for the set, with Manning backing up his success in the service game with a team-high six disposals.
- South Carolina’s defense held the Owls to one. 060 success rate in the game. The last time the team held down an opponent .100 was against Auburn on Oct. 28 of last season.
- A big key to the success of the defense was the back line. Freshman Morgan Carter added a total of 16 excavations, classmate Lauren McCutcheon added 10, and South Carolina managed a total of 47 excavations in all three sets.
- Kyla Manning now has double-digit homicides and a completion rate of .300 or better in four of the team’s seven games this season.
- Freshman Claire Wilson led the strike with 20 assists and also added five blocks, a new personal best for the passer.
- Kennesaw State came out the night with a 55-21 lead in serving aces in the first six games, but a total of only four with 12 errors behind the line Thursday.
Head Coach Tom Mendoza on the result at Kennesaw State
We’ve had some good things and then some things we have to work on. I think the team was able to compartmentalize parts of their game, I thought our block setups were really good, followed by reconnaissance reports, that sort of thing. We communicated and especially with the amount of movement Kennesaw has with his offense, I thought we handled that well. A little too many loose balls, catching up that we weren’t finishing, I think we didn’t get our striking rhythm until the third set, so of course, things we need to keep doing better. We put pressure on Kennesaw and they are a very good team, a well-coached team and we were able to make them uncomfortable.
The team’s trip to Kennesaw ends Friday afternoon with a neutral game against Santa Clara. The first service against the Broncos is scheduled for 16: 00 ET. There will be no video report, follow @GamecockVolley on Twitter for stats links and score updates.