The Gamecock volleyball team started the 2013 campaign at the UAB/Samford Volleyball Challenge with two losses on Friday.
The two losses coming against No. 6 Minnesota and Mercer. The first game of the day started out rough for the Gamecocks by having to face the nationally ranked Minnesota Lady Golden Gophers. The game was a 3-0 (25-8, 25-15, 25-16) decision.
The Golden Gophers were led by four players in double figures in kills, three of which posted double-doubles.
Abbey Heredia started off her Senior season with a double-double with 15 assists and 11 digs. Junior Nicole Merget led the Gamecocks with six kills. On defense, the Gamecocks were led by Sophomore Samantha Bohne and Senior Kelly Cole, who had eleven and ten digs respectively.
The Gamecocks faced the Mercer Bears and lost on a 3-1 (25-17, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26) decision in the final match of the day. Sophomore Emily Rutherford had 12 kills and 13 digs for her first double-double of the season, Merget also had 10 kills for the Gamecocks. Junior Alina Agamy led the team in assists and digs with 23 and 15. Heredia recorded her second double-double of the day with 21 assists and 13 digs. Cole led the team with 22 digs on defense.After being held to a .114 and .060 hitting percentage in the first two sets, the Gamecocks hit .324 as a team in the third set. Rutherford’s five kills helped JSU pull out the 25-18 victory. The Gamecocks had the 24-20 lead in the the fourth set looking to force a fifth before four costly, consecutive errors left the game tied at 24-24. After the teams swapped scores to tie the game at 26-26, Mercer was able to score to clinch the Match.
The Gamecocks wrapped the tournament up on Saturday by splitting matches with Presbyterian and tournament host UAB.
The Gamecocks opened their Saturday with a 25-19, 25-14, 25-20 win over Presbyterian by sweeping the Blue Hose. The Gamecocks used a balanced attack led by Emily Rutherford, who had nine kills and 15 digs. Freshman Kacy Clinkenbeard also had nine kills along with Sophomore Taylor Long adding seven and Nicole Merget finished with six. The assist leader for the Gamecocks was Alina Agamy and Kelly Cole had 21 digs to lead defensively.
The Gamecocks limited Presbyterian to a .008 hitting percentage for the match. Rutherford jumpstarted JSU to a fast start in the first set by posting seven kills in the 25-19 victory. The Gamecocks put up a strong defensive effort in the second set, limiting the Blue Hose to a -.167 hitting percentage. In the final match of the tournament for the Gamecocks then faced the UAB Blazers. The Gamecocks lost the match 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 25-16). Rutherford had another good performance for the day by posting a double-double, recording 22 kills and 11 digs. Merget and Freshman Liza Pflugradt had 11 kills each for the Gamecocks. Agamy again led JSU with 39 assists and Cole led the defense with 21 digs.
JSU (1-3) will return to action next weekend as they travel to Nashville to play in the Lipscomb Tournament. They will play Lipscomb and South Alabama on Friday and will close the tournament against Samford on Saturday.