COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Gamecock volleyball program opened its final home stand of the season on a high note Wednesday night, sweeping Tennessee (20-10, 6-9 SEC) on ESPNU, 25-22, 25-21, 25-16. With the win, Carolina moves to 11-16 overall and 4-10 in the SEC.
1st Set: Both teams would struggle early, on committing eight service errors combined through the first 15 points of the set. The final error of that stretch, committed by Tennessee, would lead into a modest run that would make the difference in the match.
Carolina would turn a 13-11 deficit into an 18-14 lead and force a timeout from the Vols, backed by a pair of blocks by Jacqy Angermiller and kills from Darian Dozier and Dessaa Legros. Tennessee would draw back even at 19-all, but a three-point swing from the Gamecocks would be the difference, keeping UT at an arm's length for the rest of the way in a 25-22 win.
2nd Set: The Gamecocks would lock in on defense in the second set to help take a 2-0 lead into halftime. They would pull ahead early, capitalizing on back-to-back aces from Aubrey Ezell to take an 8-4 lead. Tennessee would pull the set back to 10-all, and the two teams would trade off points through the teens but the home side would never trail.
Five different Gamecocks would pitch in with a block in the set, holding the Volunteers to their lowest hitting percentage of the night at .103. Dozier, Legros and Angermiller each had a solo block, and whatever they didn't block back was handled by Ezell and libero Megan Kirkland. That duo combined for 15 digs in the set, with Kirkland recording nine of her own, and their passing enabled Legros and Blomgren to each post four kills. Legros put a punctuation mark on the game, hammering home the clinching kill after setting up match point with a solo block.
3rd Set: The offensive combo of Legros and Sarah Blomgren carried the team home in the sweep, helping Carolina lead wire-to-wire in the final set. Blomgren opened with two straight kills and finished with five in the set, but all eyes were on Legros down the stretch. The junior pin recorded six kills over the team's final eight points of the game and had seven kills on ten swings overall in set three.
STAT OF THE MATCH
The defense at the net was stout, blocking 11 attacks in the match. It was the most blocks in a three-set match this season, and the most overall since Nov. 2 of last season. Dozier and Angermiller each had a pair of solo blocks, the most for Jacqy since Sept. 5 versus Winthrop.
The Gamecocks will have more than a week to rest up before their next match, hosting Mississippi State on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. It will be senior night for Carolina, with the team scheduled to honor three senior leaders who will be graduating this spring: Sarah Blomgren, Darian Dozier, and Elizabeth Johnbull. Fans are encourage to arrive at the Carolina Volleyball Center early to attend the senior day ceremonies.
• The Gamecocks earned their first home win over Tennessee since October of 2008. The Vols had won the previous five meetings heading into Wednesday night.
• Jacqy Angermiller made her first appearance since Oct. 18 on Wednesday, missing the last five matches with an injury. She finished with ten kills and a .450 hitting percentage.
• Aubrey Ezell picked up another double-double despite the short match, recording 32 assists and 13 digs. Now with 16 for the season, she moves into sixth in the single-season list and comes in now at 20 on the career double-double chart.
• Tennessee was held to just a .160 hitting percentage, the lowest by an SEC opponent since Georgia hit .101 on Oct. 14. In the first meeting with the Volunteers, the Gamecocks allowed a .228 hitting percentage.
• Dessaa Legros finished with a .409 hitting percentage, her third game with double-digit kills and a .400 or better percentage so far this season. It last happened against East Carolina on Sept. 18 (.444).
QUOTABLE: HEAD COACH SCOTT SWANSON
Opening statement "I'm feeling great. We haven't been practicing like that, it's just kind of we flip a switch and decide it's time to play and started playing great and for the most part we were on it tonight. I'm really proud of their mentality, because at times this year we'll give up four or five point runs a couple times, I don't think we did that more than once this whole match. Just a testament to our maturity; we're getting more mentally tough."