South Carolina women's volleyball entered the week on a three-game winning streak. Along with this, they received 41 votes in the NCAA Top 25 poll, being the third team out.
The Gamecocks looked to extend their winning streak with a Thursday to Friday series against Mississippi State in Columbia.
Mississippi State came out hot, taking a 7-4 lead early on. The Gamecocks responded with a 3-0 run, ending the first set with a 25-18 victory.
The Gamecocks outhit the Bulldogs at an impressive rate of .400 to .148. A lot of this was due to Ellie Ruprich, who ended the day hitting .889, getting eight kills out of her nine attempts.
“I was really connected to our setters ... Credit to them for getting me the ball in the right spots,” Ruprich said.
The Gamecocks carried their momentum from the first set into the second set, as they led the game by as much as 11 points.
In the third set, it was back-and-forth for a while before the Gamecocks won the final set 25-19.
For the fourth time this season, the Gamecocks won in straight sets. This was the first time they did not let their opponents score more than 20 points in a single set this season.
“As a group, it’s fun to watch,” head coach Tom Mendoza said.
In their return to action on Friday, South Carolina won the first two sets with a dominating victory in the first set and a close 27-25 victory in an extended second set.
The Bulldogs then won the third set, where the Gamecocks only lead was 1-0, and drew even with a win in the fourth set. The fifth and final set began with back-and-forth scoring for the two sides who found themselves tied at nine before the Gamecocks were able to reel off six straight to secure the match victory.
Kyla Manning led the way for the Gamecocks with 17 kills as the team edged out Mississippi State 62-59 in kills. The Gamecocks also led the way with a .265 hit percentage, compared to the Bulldogs' .242, and 11 service aces to the Bulldogs' six.
South Carolina is now 5-1 with its home games this season, and its winning streak with Mississippi State is five in a row. The Gamecocks, now 9-3 overall, will welcome Texas A&M to the Carolina Volleyball Center on Feb. 10 and 11 at 7:00 p.m. as they look to continue their winning streak.