The Gamecocks traveled to Rock Hill on Thursday evening for a non-conference matchup against the Winthrop Eagles. The Gamecocks dominated the floor and defeated the Eagles in three straight sets.
The match began with the opening point going to the Eagles. However, the Gamecocks quickly took the lead. The first set consisted of many back and forth points, until South Carolina took a commanding 18-12 lead. Graduate outside hitter Kyla Manning and redshirt senior middle blocker Mikayla Robinson helped lead the Gamecocks to their first set victory as they accounted for a combined total of eight kills. The Gamecocks won the set 25-18 over the Eagles.
The Gamecocks came into the second set with a bang as they went on a quick 3-0 run. Winthrop sophomore middle blocker, Brookelynn Thomas, who totaled for the most kills in the match, put a stop to South Carolina’s early run, allowing Winthrop to keep points close for the rest of the set.
Although, Winthrop was never able to take the lead this set, and was down by 7 at match point. This was the best set for the Gamecocks statistically, as the team was hitting .304 and finished the match with the same score as the first, winning 25-18.
Set three was a battle between both teams. The set started with a quick 2-2 score and continued to change leaders throughout most of the set. The Gamecocks managed to get up by 5 points, 21-16 over the Eagles, but that solid lead did not last long.
The Eagles went on a 3-0 scoring run, closing the gap and making the score 21-19. Winthrop got as close to 22-21, but with a service error and a kill by sophomore middle blocker Ellie Ruprich, Winthrop was down by 3 at match point.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren McCutcheon closed out the match with her 11th kill of the game, getting the Gamecocks the 25-21 win over the Eagles.
The difference tonight was easily seen in errors when looking at both teams. The Gamecocks only totaled for nine attack errors in comparison to Winthrop’s 21. In addition to this, despite seven service errors, the Gamecocks still dominated at the service line, acquiring four aces in the match compared to Winthrop’s one. South Carolina also was able to hold Winthrop to hitting only .137, as the Gamecocks themselves were hitting slightly above average with .252.
The Gamecocks are now 7-2 on the season after tonight's win. The team will be back home this Saturday, Sept. 18, and will face High Point at 4 p.m.