In their SEC opener, the Ole Miss volleyball team built a 2-0 lead on South Carolina, but saw the Gamecocks rally to win the match at their place. That was not the case here Sunday at the Gillom Sports Center, as the Rebels shut out the Gamecocks 3-0 behind a great defensive effort and the play of junior Nakeyta Clair.
With the win, the Rebels snapped a two-match losing streak and improved to 19-5 overall and 5-5 in the SEC. Ole Miss is now 10-1 at home this season.
After struggling to get going in the last two matches, Clair returned to form, posting 17 kills on a .467 clip to lead the Rebels. Sophomore Aubrey Edie passed out 35 assists.
“It’s a great feeling to beat them in three,” Clair said. “We came out aggressive and never let up. I am proud of my teammates. We knew that if we played them to five at their place, that we could definitely beat them here.”
After two tough losses, the team bounced back with a solid defense against the Gamecocks. The Rebels tallied 52 digs with three players in double digits. Freshman Lexi Thompson posted 14, senior libero Cara Fisher had 12 and Edie finished with 10 digs.
Ole Miss held South Carolina to .026 and .029 in the first two sets, respectively.
“Nakeyta played a great match for us,” head coach Steven McRoberts said. “Overall we played good team defense. South Carolina helped us out with some swings that they took, but I am proud of our net play, and our back row. For us to have as many digs as we did was nice. We talked before the match about extending rallies not getting frustrated and being ready, and I thought we did that.”
The Rebels raced out to an 8-0 lead in the first set. The Gamecocks pulled to within two, 12-10, but Ole Miss went on a 5-0 run to go back up by seven before eventually winning the set 25-19.
In the second set, the two teams battled back and forth, but at 9-9, the Rebels won three straight points to pulled ahead 12-9 and never relinquished the lead, winning the set 25-18 for a 2-0 lead in the match.
South Carolina bounced back momentarily in the third set to take a 7-4 lead on the Rebels, but would not last. Ole Miss used a 4-1 run to tie it at 8. The Gamecocks hung around, but Ole Miss closed out the set 12-7 to finish off South Carolina 25-20 and the match.
The Rebels return to action Wednesday at Mississippi State in a nationally-televised match on ESPNU at 5 p.m. Ole Miss will look for the season sweep against the Bulldogs after a 3-0 win in Oxford on Oct. 12.
For more information on Ole Miss Volleyball, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB, on Facebook at OleMissVolleyball and on Instagram at OleMissVB.
Ole Miss (19-5, 5-5) 25 25 25 South Carolina (15-9, 5-6) 19 18 20
–Ole Miss Sports Information
Rebel Volleyball Shuts Out South Carolina 3-0
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