ATHENS, GA. – South Carolina volleyball lost in four sets at Georgia (16-11, 7-8 SEC) on Friday night. It was an unusual result where the offense outhit the Bulldogs and the defense recorded twice as many blocks and had more digs, but a major advantage behind the service line swung the advantage to the home side. The Gamecocks (10-15, 4-12 SEC) were led by 17 kills from Lauren McCutcheon in the loss.
1st SET: Serving would be the difference-maker for Georgia in the opener, the Bulldogs dropped in three aces among their first 15 points and finished with a 4-1 advantage in a 25-23 win. It’s serving helped cover for an errant offense for the home side, which more unforced attacking errors (4) than it had errors from South Carolina blocks and hit just .114 in the game. Lauren McCutcheon led all attackers with five kills. Georgia took control of the set with a 4-1 run that broke a 12-all tie and led the rest of the way. The Gamecocks were able to get back to within one, at 24-23, but couldn’t extend the game.
2nd SET: First contact was a prevailing issue to start the second set, with Georgia scoring 12 of the first 15 points to build another lead it would carry the rest of the way in a 25-19 win. The Bulldogs added three more aces, but it was the quality of the first touch that made more of a difference for South Carolina. The Gamecocks were out of system offensively and allowed a 19-6 kill advantage to Georgia, letting the home side off the hook for a set with nine attacking errors compared to one for Carolina.
3rd SET: The Gamecocks came off the mat in a big way to extend the match, hitting .433 as a team in a 25-18 win. The offense was led by the one-two punch of McCutcheon and Oby Anadi, who combined for 11 of the team’s 15 total kills, with McCutcheon finishing with seven to push into double digits for the night. The efficiency was key, as South Carolina committed just two errors while converting half of its 30 attacks into kills and would not trail once. McCutcheon keyed the set-deciding run, recording four kills in the team’s final eight points and all as part of a 7-2 run that turned a 16-14 lead into the team’s largest advantage of the match.
4th SET: South Carolina’s offense remained efficient in the final game, but Georgia responded with its best hitting percentage of the night in a 25-22 win to close the match. The Bulldogs hit .344 with 14 kills, and while the Gamecocks answered with a .360 efficiency, the team could not keep…