The Daily Gamecock

Volleyball finds winning form with 2 weekend victories


Heading into this weekend, the South Carolina volleyball team was reeling. 

The Gamecocks had lost four-consecutive matches, three to conference opponents. But South Carolina took steps towards getting back on track over the weekend, notching back-to-back wins over Mississippi State and Missouri.

The Gamecocks opened their weekend Friday with a 3-1 victory over the Bulldogs, paced by junior Sarah Blomgren's performance.  

Blomgren turned in career highs in hitting percentage (.538) and kills (17) in the winning effort.

While South Carolina was expected to take care of business against a last-place Bulldog team with just one conference win, Sunday's victory over the defending SEC champion Tigers meant the world to head coach Scott Swanson and his team.

"This is such a huge win for us," Swanson said. "Coming back from having a four-game losing skid to having a bunch of injuries right before this weekend and then having our kids still gut it out ... I couldn't be more proud of how brave they were."

The Gamecocks didn't exactly storm out of the gates Sunday against Missouri, losing the first set by a score of 18-25. But South Carolina showed the grit Swanson would go on to praise when it claimed the next three sets to earn the 3-1 victory. 

Sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams was the catalyst for the Gamecocks Sunday, notching 18 kills to match her career high. She surpassed her career-best hitting percentage on the day with a .515 mark. 

Atoa-Williams' efficient play contributed to South Carolina's best hitting percentage as a team against SEC competition this season, hitting .358 in the contest. 

Nine matches remain in the Gamecocks' season, all of which are against conference opponents.  

After South Carolina's successful weekend, it sits at No. 6 in the conference behind Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M, respectively.  

"This is a highlight of my four years so far," Swanson said, "just working through the adversity that they had to work through and to beat a really solid team."