Oct. 14—USC AIKEN 3, LANDER 1
USC Aiken volleyball coach Glenn Cox knows his team plays the kind of defense that will keep the Pacers competitive in any match they play.
The true question each time they take the court is if they'll click offensively in a way that can propel them to reach their potential and lofty expectations.
That happened later rather than sooner Wednesday night against Lander, but the Pacers found their stride in the third and fourth sets for a 3-1 win over Lander at the Convocation Center.
"We really started off sloppy. We did not get out of bed and get going there," Cox said following the Pacers' 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-16 victory. "Lander's super scrappy. They're a good team with some pretty solid weapons. We really spotted them, I don't know how many hitting errors in the first set (14) — they didn't have to do a whole lot with the amount of errors we were giving them in the first set."
USCA (14-3, 4-2 Peach Belt Conference) couldn't have gotten off to a much worse start offensively, hitting -.068 in the first set and not getting it back to .000 until the end of the second. The Pacers salvaged a split, though, after scoring the final four points to steal the second set.
The third looked like it would be another back-and-forth affair, but a 7-0 USCA run put the Pacers ahead 19-15. Lander (8-8, 1-5) got back within a point, but the Pacers closed out the set.
They hit .216 in that third set and saved their best for last with a .231 fourth. They jumped out to a 7-2 lead and stayed at least three points in front the rest of the way to finish off the match.
"We cleaned it up. Offense got going. We made a few adjustments, had to pull a few people out that were really struggling," Cox said. "I don't really know what my second string is. I've just got some other players that can go in and fill the shoes of a kid that's having an off day."
Alie Smith had a match-high 14 kills to lead the Pacers. Alisha Pitt had nine kills and gave the Pacers some quality swings late, and Emily Lammers also had nine kills. Cat Bodick hit a match-high .357 and had eight kills, with several coming during key points in the match.
"Playing out of position and going in there and hitting (.357) for the match, it was pretty solid," Cox said. "That's what you like to see from a middle, you know?"
Smith added 16 digs for a double-double, and Caroline Foster (25 assists, 10 digs) and Sophie Meredith (16 assists, 13 digs) each also had double-doubles. Lily Andrews had 12 digs.
This was a bounce-back win for the Pacers, who lost in five sets last Friday to Flagler. They're off this weekend for fall break and will return to action next weekend for some pivotal region matches in the PBC/SAC crossover at the Convocation Center.