What are your thoughts on the match?
"South Carolina has a very athletic team. They played together more as a team than we did. We had some mental letdowns and it got a hold of us. That is something that we need to work on."
Was there any specific reason that the girls lost a lot of points on their serves in Game 2?
"That's part of mental, too."
They didn't appear to be as focused today as they could have been?
"Right. It's just something we're going to have to work on."
How much of a setback was this loss today?
"We learn from everything we do. It's just going to have to be another learning expreience. You win, you learn. You lose, you learn."
Which girls have stepped up to be leaders of this team?
"I think Rachel Cooper does a good job in leading. And they lead in different ways. When one is off in one area, it might be that one leads with play, one leads with their communication. Because there's not that one big leader, sometimes it hurts if everybody doesn't do their job. This team's good to have a lot of leaders in different areas."
Specifically, what are some positives you can draw from this weekend?
"Just the fact that we know we have to go back and work that much harder."
You have the match with Ole Miss this Wednesday. Are you going to treat it as a big rivalry game or are you going to approach it as another match?
"It's just another match to us."
You only have three days to get ready for Ole Miss. What will be your schedule?
"Monday is their off day. So on Tuesday, we'll start preparing for Ole Miss."
STARKVILLE, Miss. - South Carolina claimed a hard-fought 35-33 win in the opening game and then cruised on to a 3-0 win over Mississippi State in SEC volleyball competition Sunday afternoon at the Newell-Grissom Building. The win gave the Lady Gamecocks (10-5, 3-3 SEC) a split in the seasonal series with the Bulldogs, while Mississippi State (9-9, 2-4 SEC) fell for the second time at home this weekend.
"We had our chances in that opening game, but South Carolina kept coming up with the big plays," said first-year MSU head coach Tina Seals. "We battled back and had three game-point serves. They gained momentum after that and we had trouble getting anything going."
USC had 11 kills without an error and hit a scalding .550 to take game two 30-14, and 11 Bulldog hitting errors enabled the Gamecocks to seal the match with a 30-19 win in game three. It marked the first two times against an SEC foe this year that MSU has failed to reach the 20-point mark in a game.
Junior Rachel Cooper took match honors with 12 kills, six of them in the opening game. The Bulldogs trailed by as many as six in the opening set and battled back to tie the score at 28-28 on a service ace by Megan Lukasek. State fended off two USC serves at game point before a kill by Andrea Mead put State up for the first time since the opening moments of the match at 31-30. MSU then had three game point serves that the Gamecocks answered, and USC sealed the match with the help of a pair of Bulldog miscues: a ball-handling error and a blocking error.
With her 12 kills, Cooper climbed into MSU's career top 10 in kills. The Roscoe, ill., product has piled up a team-best 263 kills this season and 861 in three seasons, passing Shauna Owens (854 kills, 1988-91) into 10th place and five away from Theresa D'Antoni (866 kill, 1987-1990) in ninth place.
Julie Hamilton had a career-high seven kills while freshman Jamie Joyner added six. Megan Lukasek led the Bulldogs on defense with 11 digs. Andrea Mead had nine and Ashley Sledge seven.
USC led in virtually every statistical category: in kills (43-38), attack percentage (.320 to an MSU season-low .073), digs (50-44) and team blocks (9-0).
Shonda Cole and Lauren Ford shared team kills honors for the winners with 10 each, with Ford delivering a pair of solo blocks and four block assists. Sarah Morgan took match honors on defense with 16 digs.
Mississippi State concludes its current three-match homestand Wednesday with a 7 p.m. battle against instate SEC rival Mississippi (8-9, 1-5 SEC), which dropped a 3-0 decision Sunday to Tennessee (30-27, 30-19, 30-24). There is no charge for admission to the MSU-UM match in the Newell-Grissom Building.
Later this weekend State hits the road for a regionally-televised match at Kentucky. The inter-divisional battle kicks off the SEC-TV Match of the Week Series on FOX SportsNet South, with first serve in UK's historic Memorial Gymnasium set for 6:30 p.m. CT.
SOUTH CAROLINA 3, MSU 0
MSU (9-9, 2-4 SEC) 33 14 19
USC (10-5, 3-3 SEC) 35 30 30
Source: MSU Media Relations