COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A pair of nearly flawless nights from juniors Emily Klitzke and Stephanie Campbell led the Auburn volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep (25-23, 25-20, 31-29) of South Carolina on Friday night at the Carolina Volleyball Center.
The Tigers (11-5, 3-1 SEC) earned their fourth straight win in Columbia and their ninth in the last 12 meetings with the Gamecocks (7-11, 0-5). But it wasn't without a fight as the Gamecocks mounted several comebacks during the match and fought off four match point attempts in the third set before the Tigers finally put the match away.
Klitzke led the Tigers, matching a season-high with 14 kills on 22 attempts and just two errors for a season-best .545 hitting percentage. She was also in on a pair of blocks on the night. Campbell, meanwhile, had 10 kills on an error-free 15 swings for a .667 hitting mark. It was her second time this season with 10 or more attempts and no errors.
Sophomore Alexa Filley distributed the ball well with 39 assists along with three kills, seven digs and a block. Sophomore Courtney Crable also added nine kills and hit .320 with a pair of blocks. Campbell and junior Breanna Barksdale tied for the team lead with three blocks apiece; Barksdale also added six kills.
As a team, the Tigers hit .290 for the match and overcame a scrappy Gamecocks team that hit .248 on the night. Each team had 46 kills while Auburn won the digs battle 45-36. Sophomore Jesse Earl led the Tigers' defensive effort with 17 digs while senior Alyssa Ivey had nine.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair that featured 12 ties and four lead changes, but the Tigers were able to hang on for a 25-23 win. Auburn hit .290 in the opening frame and held off a tough Carolina attack that swung at a .394 clip, but Auburn benefitted from four Gamecock service errors in the frame.
Set two saw Auburn jump out to an early lead, but the Gamecocks fought back to move ahead 15-13 at the media timeout. Three ties later, Auburn finally took the lead for good on back-to-back kills from Crable and a block from Campbell and Klitzke to make it 22-19. A Carolina error and a kill from Campbell put away the set 25-20.
Auburn appeared to have the upper hand for most of the third set, taking a 17-13 lead and forcing a Carolina timeout. But the Gamecocks rallied for six straight points to move ahead 19-17 before Auburn fought back with kills from Crable, Campbell and Klitzke to take a 23-21 lead. From there, neither team could gain a foothold as Auburn had four chances at match point, all scuttled by the Gamecocks, but Carolina kept Auburn's hope of a sweep alive with back-to-back service errors on their set point attempts. At 29-29, Campbell and Crable picked up a block to give Auburn its fifth match-point chance, and a kill from Campbell ended things at 31-29.
Koko Atoa-Williams led South Carolina with 16 kills and hit .303 on the night.
Auburn will travel to Gainesville, Fla., tonight in preparation for Sunday's match with the 17th-ranked Florida Gators. First serve is set for 2 p.m. CT at the O'Connell Center, and the match will be televised by SEC Network.