The Gamecock volleyball team had a great defensive showing and red hot offense in its three set (25-11, 25-11, 25-22) sweep of the High Point University Panthers on Saturday.
On defense, the Gamecocks held the Panthers under a .200 hit percentage the whole game, with the Panthers being held at or under .050 for two sets. Offensively, three players reached double digit kills and two players reached double digit assists for the game.
The Gamecocks put up seven total team blocks, while the Panthers totaled 13 attack errors. In the back row, the Gamecocks' defense shined.
The Gamecocks only recorded a single receive error and only allowed one service ace from the Panthers. The teams' strong serve receive gave the setters the ability to capitalize on all of the teams' attackers and allowed the offense to get into a groove.
Additionally, the sheer amount of digs (39) the Gamecocks amassed also helped in the winning effort. With five players recording five digs or more, it was evident how well the players were communicating with one another to keep the ball in play on defense.
Sophomore middle blocker Ellie Ruprich told GamecocksOnline postgame that communication was the key to the team's good defense at the net despite the low amount of blocks.
“We’ve been working a lot on, like, going up as a unit, and that paid off today,” Ruprich said.
With a 46-25 and 8-1 kills and serve advantage, respectively, it was statistically clear to see how dominant the Gamecocks were on offense.
Leading the way for the Gamecocks' offense was the trio of redshirt senior middle blocker Mikayla Robinson, graduate left side Kyla Manning and freshman left side Lauren McCutcheon with 11, 10 and 10 kills, respectively.
A stark difference between the Gamecock and Panther offense was the force with which the Gamecocks hit the ball. The Panthers resorted to light tips time and time again when attacking, whereas the Gamecocks had more precise, strong spikes, making it significantly harder to receive on the Panthers' end.
This was largely helped by the effectiveness of the team's setters. Gamecock graduate setter Mallory Dixon and freshman setter Claire Wilson both sported over .500 assist percentages on over 25 attempts.
“Me and Mallory have been connecting really well so far,” McCutchen told GamecocksOnline postgame. “I cannot wait for the SEC to come.”
Saturday's win puts the Gamecocks at 8-2 for the season as they enter SEC play against Georgia on Wednesday at the Carolina Volleyball Center. First serve will be at 8 p.m.