The South Carolina volleyball team took on the Arkansas Razorbacks on the road on Wednesday, losing in three sets and dropping to 10-11 overall and 4-7 in SEC play.
South Carolina played defensively throughout the match, but a combination of its own errors and Arkansas' offensive attack put the team down early. The Gamecocks lost the first set 25-17.
“In the first (set) ... we just weren't putting ourselves in aggressive enough spots to get kills,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “ Wasn’t consistent enough tonight for us to come out with the win.”
There were some bright spots for the Gamecocks, with junior outside hitter Riley Whitesides bringing a surge to the team into the second set.
The 5’11” outside hitter played a huge role in Wednesday's game, being the team leader in attack points with 35 and tallying eight total kills in Fayetteville.
“When she was aggressive and she was hitting, especially against double blocks, trying to hit high off their block, I thought she was effective,” Mendoza said. “We just need to find a way for her and the rest of our hitters, to put them in a little bit more of a consistent situation.”
In the third set, the Gamecocks came out their most aggressive on the night, earning their highest hitting percentage at .091%, but it was not enough to combat the Razorbacks' .424%.
The Arkansas defense made it hard to register kills all night. In total, the Razorbacks recorded 13 blocks, while South Carolina recorded six. The Gamecocks' 24 attack errors also put the team behind.
Looking forward to the final seven-game stretch of the regular season, Mendoza says that the team has improved but needs to focus on getting kills. The team averaged 10 kills per set during Wednesday's match, but Mendoza said he wants the team to be closer to 15.
“We just need to find a way to get that kill rate up a little bit higher,” Mendoza said.
The Gamecocks look to bounce back when they face the Ole Miss Rebels for a two-game series in Columbia on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.