COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina volleyball team did something they've haven't done in 10 years and that's defeat a top 25 team. They ended the drought on Sunday as they defeated No.21 Missouri in Carolina Coliseum.
After getting swept by sixth ranked Florida in Gainesville on Friday, the Gamecocks back at home and put on on of their best games of the season against another ranked opponent.
They got off to solid start with a 25-20 win in the opening set. Senior Dessa Legros set the tone with four of her 14 kills coming in the set.
The Missouri Tigers took the second set 25-23. That close set proved that a tremendous effort would be coming from the Gamecocks for the duration of the match.
Team captain Koko Atoa-Williams nailed one of her 10 kills to help the Gamecocks win a tough third set 26-24 to go up 2-1 in the match. She also added 18 digs for a double-double.
Former news19 player of the week Claire edwards gets into the act when the freshman out or River Bluff High School converts a set from Aubrey Ezell in another tight set. Ezell finished with 40 helpers on the night.
USC was down 17-13 in the fourth set but began chipping away.
Mikayla Shields, another freshman, punched one of her game high 17 terminations to give USC the momentum to rally.
USC wound up with a match point opportunity and it's Atoa-Williams who will fire it through a gap in the Missouri defense to finish the match.
For the first time since 2006, the Gamecock volleyball program beats a top 25 program. USC defeats missouri 3-1.
The last time USC beat a ranked a opponent, Shonda Cole, a recent USC Hall Of Famer, and current USC assistant coach, had 35 kills in a win over then No.6 Florida.
With the win the Gamecocks improve to 18-8 overall and 6-8 in the SEC. Those 18 wins tied for the most in a season under six year head coach Scott Swanson. He believes that this win was a game changer for the program.
"In my six years, this is the biggest win we've had as a program," Swanson said after the match. "We told the kids in the pregame talk that we were going to upset Missouri tonight, and they believed it. They came out and they worked and they fought and did everything they could. We executed really really well, and a lot of team effort... this is a signature win for us, it's huge."
USC will carry this emotion and momentum into their next match against Alabama this coming Friday night which will be senior night at 7 pm inside Carolina Coliseum.