~ Steve Lathan/JSU
~ Steve Lathan/JSU

It was a historic day for first- year head coach Terry Gamble last Thursday. His Gamecocks swept the series against opponent Alabama A&M and brought him his 800th career win.

The win came during the Troy Invitational held at Trojan Arena. The Gamecocks were set to play Alabama A&M, Mercer and finally the host Troy Trojans.

While A&M had 7 kills from Ashundria McNeal, their attack percentage was minimal at best. The Gamecocks held them to .080 while they boasted a .319 percentage on their way to the victories. Emily Rutherford led the Gamecocks with 15 kills, while Jennifer Hart had 31 assists and Samantha Bohne had 17 digs.

The final scores for the sweep were 25-19, 25-15 and 25-9.

After the sweet victory for Coach Gamble and his team, the Gamecocks rode their high straight into another sweep of the Mercer Bears. Despite the win, each set was closely matched for the Gamecocks with final scores of 25-23, 25-22 and 25-20.

The Bears were held to .069 attack percentage, while the Gamecocks were at .191. Nicole Merget led the team with her 13 kills and Allyson Zuhlke was right behind her in double digits with 10 kills. Jennifer Hart led the team with her 32 assists, while Emily Rutherford, Samantha Bohne and Charis Ludtke all had seven digs apiece on defense.

It seemed that the Gamecocks would continue on their winning streak but it came to a close on the final day of the tournament when host Troy defeated the Gamecocks. JSU played four sets against the Trojans and won only once. The finals for the match were 25-13, 25-17, 19-25 and 25-15 with set three being the lone win for JSU.

This time it was Troy who held the Gamecocks to a low attack percentage of .138 while the Trojans cruised to a .347 percentage. They had three players with kills in the double digits, 18 of which came from Blair Winston. The Gamecocks had their share of kills though. Zuhlke and Merget were back at the top of the kills list with 15 and 12 respectively. Hart added another 31 assists to her record and Hannah Kirk took care of defense with 14 digs.

The Gamecocks will head to Oxford, Miss., next for the Magnolia Invitational. Friday will bring matches against UAB and Ole Miss followed up on Saturday with a match against Mercer.

Rebekah Hawkins
Sports Writer

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