Gamecock beach volleyball shocks No. 2 Southern Cal Tuesday
ATLANTA, GA. – South Carolina beach volleyball added an impressive win to its resume on Tuesday, taking down second-ranked Southern California (11-2) and Florida Gulf Coast (2-3) as part of the Georgia State Day of Duals event. The Gamecocks (7-5) are just the third team from the east region to ever take down the Trojans, and it’s the highest ranked opponent South Carolina has ever beaten.
The opening wave put the Gamecocks in tremendous position, getting wins at courts four and five to take a 2-0 lead in the team score. Caroline Skaff and Whitley Ballard made quick work of their fives pairing, winning 21-18, 21-15, but fours pair Jess Vastine and Hannah Edelman had to put in overtime to get their win. After losing the opening set, the duo won 22-20 in the second to force a deciding third set. The final game, typically played first to 15 points, would ironically be the longest set of the match, but Vastine and Edelman pulled out the 25-23 win.
The Women of Troy fought back quickly in the second wave, sweeping the twos pairing and winning in three sets on court three to tie up the match and put all eyes on center court. Cadie Bates and Shannon Williams grinded out a 21-19 win in the opening set against the reigning national pair of the week, Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina, but fell 21-14 in the second. In the final frame, the Gamecocks milked an early lead and were able to get quick sideouts to keep USC at bay. Bates and Williams would close out a 15-12 win in the third, handing Bustamante and Graudina their first loss of the season.
“It’s a unique opportunity to play Southern Cal, I think we had a lot of pairs take a leap forward in the way that they competed, Shannon Williams and Cadie Bates especially,” head coach Moritz Moritz said. “They’re a great example of how if you stay focused on your game plan and execute as best as you can, regardless of your opponent, you can achieve great things.”
The team wasn’t able to dwell on the victory for long, though, regrouping to face a FGCU team it had battled many times in the past. The opening wave again set a positive tone for the dual, with Skaff and Ballard again sweeping court five and Edelman and Vastine pulling out a three-set win to put Carolina up 2-0. Lydia Dimke and Katie Smith kicked off the second round of matches with a quick win at the twos that clinched the overall team win, 21-11, 21-19. The Eagles got a win out of the threes pair, but Bates and Williams closed out the dual with a much less dramatic 21-15, 21-18 win at the number one matchup for the 4-1 final.
After 12 road matches to start the season, the Gamecocks will finally open their home schedule this weekend with their annual Grand Slam tournament. Running Saturday and Sunday, Carolina plays at 1 and 5 p.m. each day. On Saturday, the team faces conference rivals UAB and Georgia State, and Sunday features matches with Stetson and Eastern Kentucky.
“I’m excited to see what we can be as a team when we’re firing on all cylinders,” Moritz said, “and I hope the team can take the feeling of success from today and fuel a great week ahead as we get ready for some talented teams stepping on to our sand this weekend.”
#10 South Carolina 3, #2 Southern Cal 2
1. Cadie Bates/Shannon Williams (South Carolina) def. Tina Graudina/Abril Bustamante (USC) 21-19, 14-21, 15-12
2. Terese Cannon/Sammy Slater (USC) def. Lydia Dimke/Katie Smith (South Carolina) 21-14, 21-15
3 Alex Poletto/Haley Hallgren (USC) def. Franky Harrison/Carly Schnieder (South Carolina) 25-23, 16-21, 15-8
4. Jess Vastine/Hannah Edleman (South Carolina) def. Joy Dennis/Cammie Dorn (USC) 16-21, 22-20, 25-23
5. Caroline Skaff/Whitley Ballard (South Carolina) def. Maja Kaiser/Mollie Ebertin (USC) 21-18, 21-15
Ex. Laurel Kujan/Karina Myszkowski (USC) def. Lauryn Gillis/Quinn Fulton (South Carolina) vs 21-19, 21-19
Order of finish: 5,4,2,3,1*
#10 South Carolina 4, FGCU 1
1. Bates/ Williams (SC) def. Amanda Carroll/Kirstine Garder (FGCU) 21-15, 21-18
2. Dimke/Smith (SC) def. Karissa Rhoades/Katie Puisis 21-11, 21-19
3. Kayla Whetstone/Snowy Burnam (FGCU) def. Harrison/Schnieder (SC) 18-21, 24-22, 15-13
4. Vastine/Edelman (SC) def. Gia Borgiotti/Candace Lacour 17-21, 24-22, 15-12
5. Skaff/Ballard (SC) def. Alayna Ryan/Cortney VanLiew (FGCU) 21-16, 21-17
Ex. Gillis/Fulton (SC) def. Emma Hanson/Camryn Bossinas (FGCU)
Order of finish: 5,4,2*,3,1