Gamecocks sweep Rebels
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Senior night was one to remember for Callie Brown, Aubrey Ezell, Courtney Furlong, Emma Lock and Jesse Turner.
South Carolina's five-woman senior class had seen plenty over their four-year careers with the volleyball program, but Friday night's win over Ole Miss was something no one in the program had seen in a decade. The 3-0 win over the Rebels moved the team to 19-6 overall and 10-5 in SEC play, the highest overall and conference win total for South Carolina since 2008. Ezell shined on her senior night, posting six aces and 20 digs in the sweep, while Mikayla Shields added 15 kills and nine digs.
SET 1: The Gamecocks pulled away late in what would be a closely contested game early, winning 25-20 for the quick advantage. Aubrey Ezell sparked the team with her serve, recording four aces in the set, but back-to-back daggers broke the team out of a 14-all tie and South Carolina would never look back from there. Courtney Furlong led the offense with four kills, and four other attackers would put away multiple kills in the game.
SET 2: Mikayla Shields took control in the second set; the junior went without an error and put away nine kills on 15 swings to help the team win 25-20 and go up 2-0. South Carolina's offense was unstoppable, recording 20 total kills in the set while hitting .319. They were fueled by a backline defense led by Ezell, who had nine of the team's 23 total digs in the set and limited Ole Miss to a .140 hitting percentage. South Carolina did not trail again after breaking a 2-2 tie early.
SET 3: Looking for the sweep, South Carolina needed a late rally to help erase a blown lead. Leading 19-15, the home side allowed a 8-2 run from there that put the Rebels in position to extend the match. A kill from Brittany McLean and a tandem block from Shields and Mikayla Robinson would tie the set up at 23, and a Robinson kill and second block from the Mikaylas iced the sweep.
- The last time the Gamecocks had a four-game win streak in the month of November was during the 1996 season.
- The win snaps Ole Miss' three-game win streak in the series.
- Aubrey Ezell surpassed 200 career service aces in the win, finishing with six for the match. Just two other women in program history have reached the milestone: Cally Plummer (1998-2002) and Teri Montoya (1983-84).
- Ezell's 20 digs are a three-set high for the team this season and is her third 20-dig match of the season. The team's 54 digs Friday are a season high for a three-set match.
- Ezell also set the rally-scoring era record for most career sets played, now standing at 428. The senior has not missed a single set in her four-year career as a starter.
- Mikayla Shields' 15 kills are the most for a three-set match this season for South Carolina. During the team's current four-game win streak, Shields is hitting .303 with 3.82 kills per set.
STAT OF THE MATCH: The serve game would be where the Gamecocks separated themselves on Friday. The team had seven aces and just seven errors, its lowest total since Oct. 5, breaking an eight-game stretch where South Carolina averaged 13.5 errors per game. Tough service also kept Ole Miss out of its offensive system, holding the Rebels to a .145 hitting percentage and the SEC kill leader Emily Stroup to 13 kills on 41 swings.
UP NEXT: The team will leave bright and early Saturday morning for a road trip to Baton Rouge. The Gamecocks take on LSU on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, looking for just their second win in the Tigers' home gym over the last 15 years.