COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's volleyball team snapped a three-match losing streak with a 3-1 win over Alabama Friday night (20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 26-24). The Gamecocks rebounded from a first set loss to take the win and move to 12-15 overall this season (5-10 SEC). Mikayla Shields led the team with 18 kills in the match.
SET 1: The Crimson Tide (17-12, 5-10 SEC) almost led wire-to-wire in the opening game, using a trio of aces from Ginger Perinar early to build a 7-2 lead on Carolina. Out of a timeout, the Gamecocks rallied back to trail 8-7, but would get no closer the rest of the way in the 25-20 loss. Claire Edwards led the team with four kills in the game, but outside of her .600 hitting percentage, the rest of the team combined for just an .062 success rate.
SET 2: Another big run opened the second set, this time it would be in Carolina's favor. Jess Vastine took over service in a 1-1 game, and spearheaded what would be a 9-0 run for the Gamecocks. Alabama committed five unforced attack errors in the run, but were able to chip away as the game went on and soon trailed just 20-18. A pair of kills from Mikayla Shields, two of her four in the set, carried the team late to a 25-22 win.
SET 3: Game three would be the tightest of the match, with 11 ties and three lead changes total. Abreia Epps was the difference-maker for the Gamecocks, as the senior converted all five of her swings to kills in the 25-23 win. Alabama led late, 20-18, but two more kills and a solo block from Shields swung the score back to Carolina's side. Epps closed it out with the team's last two kills, the clincher coming on the team's second set point opportunity.
SET 4: South Carolina needed a miracle comeback to deny the Tide a fifth set. The Gamecocks trailed for almost the entire set, but saved their one big rally for when it mattered most. Alabama went ahead, 24-20, after a block, but Claire Edwards denied its set point with a solo block out of the middle. Alabama committed back-to-back attack errors, both unforced, to cut their lead down to just 24-23. After a timeout from the visitors, Mikayla Shields capped an exciting back-and-forth rally with her 18th kill of the night to tie it up at 24. Abreia Epps's 13th kill gave the team its first match point, and Alabama's 29th attack error of the night clinched the 6-0 run to win the match.
The team will catch a flight Saturday to head west to College Station. South Carolina faces Texas A&M on Sunday at noon eastern, as the Gamecocks look to break a five-match losing streak to the Aggies and earn their first road win ever in the series.