NCAA Beach Volleyball

Gamecocks Advance to Conference Championship, Fall to No. 4 Florida State in Title Bout – University of South Carolina Athletics

Gamecocks Advance to Conference Championship, Fall to No. 4 Florida State in Title Bout – University of South Carolina Athletics

HUNTSVILLE, ALA. – South Carolina beach volleyball reached new heights for the program on Saturday, reaching the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association’s tournament championship for the first time. The Gamecocks (20-16) made it by taking down No. 10 LSU (25-11) in the semifinal round by a 3-2 score, but South Carolina had a rally run out of steam late in the championship dual. Fourth-ranked Florida State (30-7) claimed its eighth out of the last nine CCSA tournament titles with a 3-0 decision.

In the morning elimination game against LSU, South Carolina took four first sets against the Tigers, highlighted by a marathon opener on court five that would hold heavy implications as the matchup went on. VB Trost and Sophie Bengoechea traded off multiple set points with LSU before ending the set on a 3-0 run. Trost capitalized on strong winds in her face and dropped in service aces at 27-27 and 28-27 to clinch the set at 29-27.

Similar to the team’s game against No. 17 GCU Friday afternoon, the momentum swung away from the Gamecocks in the second sets. LSU claimed the first point of the dual thanks to a sweep on court two, but South Carolina countered with a decisive win on the top court from Skylar Allen and Riley Whitesides. The duo won 21-18, 21-12 to make it 1-1 and put all eyes on the final three courts.

The Tigers forced third sets on courts three and four, each side would take big leads early with LSU starting off with an 8-1 lead on three and Morgan Downs and Peyton Yamagata scoring a 7-3 lead on four. Both matchups would get considerably tighter, though, as the Tigers threatened to win the dual with a 15-12 win on court three for a 2-1 advantage and Downs and Yamagata’s lead was trimmed to one point. Mere seconds apart, the drama would unfold on courts four and five to decide the dual. Downs put away a kill to side out and clinch court four at 21-12, 21-15, 15-13 just seconds before an LSU attack trickled wide off the net tape for a 29-27, 21-15 win for Bengoechea and Trost on court five.

In the championship dual, South Carolina built modest leads on three courts early and Allen and Whitesides took the first set on court one. Florida State grabbed the momentum, though, as it finished out with opening-set wins on courts two through five. The Gamecocks lost a big opportunity on court three in the opening set, falling 23-21 after leading for…

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