Missouri volleyball commits too many errors, falls to South Carolina in four sets

In a battle between the Columbias, the Gamecocks evened the weekend matchup with a rambunctious performance.

Dariana Hollingsworth-Santana transitioned back to the 10 foot line.

The senior right-side hitter screamed out her play to redshirt junior setter Andrea Fuentes as she lined herself up and hit the ball down the line on South Carolina’s side to score. She tallied six kills in the second set, and this one helped push the Tigers to a 25-20 victory.

However, Missouri couldn’t handle the Gamecocks’ attack much longer. They proved to be more resilient and defeated the Tigers in four sets on Saturday at Carolina Volleyball Center.

After it swept South Carolina Friday afternoon, Missouri entered the match Saturday with confidence. Outside hitter Kylie Deberg alternated her offensive approach between sharp-cross kills and short-high tips, enough to keep the Gamecocks’ defense on its toes.

The senior’s attack persisted all around the court as she hit a ball from the middle-back position right on the back line of South Carolina’s side. When she rotated to the front row, she excelled at finding holes between Gamecocks defenders.

Deberg accumulated 22 kills to keep Missouri in the match. Outside hitter Anna Dixon tallied 16 kills.

Missouri’s lone win in the second set showcased its highest kill percentage of .563% in the match.

South Carolina libero Lauren Bowers quickly caught on to Deberg’s and Dixon’s tendencies and dug multiple balls, which kept the Gamecocks close throughout the match.

Missouri committed numerous errors as South Carolina’s relentless attack aggravated the Tigers.

On one possession, Dixon attempted to attack a ball, but South Carolina hitter McKenzie Moorman put her hands up against Dixon’s hit, and it ricocheted back onto Missouri’s side. That point helped the Gamecocks win its first set 30-28.

The Tigers’ four-set defeat came in part because of their failure to minimize errors on their side of the net. The Gamecocks used the Tigers’ 16 service errors to find other areas where they underperformed.

South Carolina middle blocker Ellie Ruprich discovered the opening between the Tiger block early in the third set and launched the ball into the deep corner. Libero Emily Brown failed to put a touch on the ball, and the Gamecocks continually targeted the freshman to go on multiple runs, which helped them clinch the third set 25-23.

“We had some tough moments and struggled to respond when South Carolina made good plays,” Missouri coach Joshua Taylor said.

The Tigers face a well-built No. 10 Florida team next weekend and will need to find ways to minimize errors on their side in order to make a competitive run through the end of the season.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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