Gamecocks women's volleyball returned home for the final time this season to take on Ole Miss in a weekend series. South Carolina won both games, only losing a single set to the Rebels.
The Gamecocks took the first of the two games Saturday in a gritty 3-0 sweep.
The Gamecocks traded points with the Rebels in the first set until a pair of kills by senior middle blocker Mikayla Robinson swung the momentum for the home team. South Carolina held onto the momentum to win the first set 25-19, hitting at an impressive clip of 52%.
The second game began with an Ole Miss run, its biggest lead of the game at 7-2. The Gamecocks called timeout and soon after rallied back.
Current SEC Freshman of the Week and outside hitter Riley Whitesides recorded six kills in the run including the set tying point at 15-15. The teams fought hard, but South Carolina was able to pull out the second set 26-24.
The Gamecocks took the lead in the third set 9-8 after an Ole Miss error. South Carolina had a game total of nine aces, three of which came in key spots to finish the game with a win.
Whitesides finished with a game-high 15 kills — her fourth straight game in double digits. Robinson had nine kills and graduate outside hitter Kyla Manning had eight.
South Carolina defeated the Rebels 3-1 on Sunday.
Both teams started the game going back and forth, but the Rebels went on an 8-1 scoring run to take the lead.
Ole Miss won the first set 25-18. It recorded 15 kills and 15 digs, with a 0.393 hit percentage. The Rebels had four players each score three kills in the set, displaying an all-around team effort.
In the second set, the Rebels jumped to a quick 7-3 lead and appeared in control of the set. Down 15-12, the Gamecocks went on an 8-0 run to gain a 5 point lead. The Rebels followed this with a 5-0 run of their own and tied it at 20.
The rest of the set was competitive. South Carolina had multiple set-point opportunities before Ole Miss tied it at 24, then tied it at 25, 26, 27 and 28.
The Gamecocks had set-point 9 times, but finally won the set 30-28 thanks to a kill by freshman middle blocker Ellie Ruprich.
“That second set got tight,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “We were a challenge call away from being, you know, 1 point from going down 0-2."
The third set continued to be a back and forth battle. South Carolina opened up a 10-5 lead early in the set, but Ole Miss tied it back up. Despite this, the Gamecocks managed to keep control and win the set 25-20 to go up 2-1 for the match.
South Carolina went into the fourth set with a chance to put the Rebels away and end the game. The two teams exchanged blows early before the Gamecocks opened up a 14-7 lead. South Carolina stayed in control the rest of the way and won the set 25-13 giving them the match win.
“It was close, and Ole Miss was pushing us,” Mendoza said.
Whitesides recorded 12 kills and four digs in the match. The team as a whole totaled 48 kills and 12 blocks.
South Carolina improves to 12-6 on the year after the two wins. The Gamecocks will play on Saturday when the team travels to LSU on for a two-game series.