COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Tennessee's Erica Treiber and Tessa Grubbs had 17 kills each, but the Volunteers lost 3-2 (24-26, 25-12, 23-25, 25-22, 15-13) to South Carolina on Wednesday night at Carolina VB Center.
The Vols (10-5, 1-2 SEC) led two sets to one, but South Carolina (13-1, 1-1) won the final two sets to close out the match.
While Tennessee led the fifth set by as many as three points at 10-7, South Carolina climbed back into the match and eventually took a 13-12 lead. The Vols tied the match on a sneak attack by freshman setter Sedona Hansen, but the Gamecocks won the final two points, clinching the match on an attack error by Alyssa Andreno.
Treiber set a new career best with 17 kills. Freshman Sedona Hansen recorded a double-double with 52 assists and 16 digs. Sophomore Brooke Schumacher added 15 digs and senior Bridgette Villano had 13.
The Vols play their second of four consecutive road matches on Sunday, taking on No. 5 Florida on Sunday at noon in Gainesville. The match will be televised on the SEC Network.
Tennessee staged a late rally in the first set. South Carolina took a 23-20 lead, but the Vols won six of the last seven points to close out the set. The Gamecocks foiled one set point on a kill by Alicia Starr, but the Vols took the second one when Treiber powered a shot down the middle to make it 26-24.
South Carolina jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second set. While the Vols managed to cut that lead to three points, the Gamecocks won 9 of 10 points to take a 20-10 lead on a block by Starr and Abreia Epps. South Carolina hit .360 in the set and eventually won 25-12.
The third set came down to the wire, and the Vols again closed out strong. Tennessee broke a 23-23 tie with kills from Treiber and Grubbs to clinch the set 25-23. Tennessee vastly improved its offensive efficiency in the third, hitting .361.
South Carolina swung momentum late in the fourth set. The Vols took a 20-18 lead on a kill by Treiber, but South Carolina won six of the next seven points to go ahead 24-21 after Starr hit back-to-back kills. Holmes saved one set point with a strike through South Carolina's block, but Mikayla Shields finished the set for the Gamecocks with a kill on the next point.
- Tennessee Starters: Erica Treiber, Raina Hembry, Sedona Hansen, Britney Vallez, Bri Holmes, Claudia Coco and Brooke Schumacher at libero. It was Coco's first start of the season at defensive specialist.
- Wednesday marked the 100th career match played for seniors Bridgette Villano and Raina Hembry. Of those 100 matches, Hembry has made 85 starts at middle blocker.
- Hembry reached a second milestone, recording her 300th career block. She finished with four.
- Wednesday's contest was the Vols' first match since Sept. 9 to go beyond three sets. The Vols' last five matches had been straight setters, three wins and two losses.
- Dig this: 11 different Vols had at least one dig in the match. That has happened only three times this season (Cleveland State, Kent State, South Carolina).
- The Vols have three South Carolina natives on the team: Grubbs (Tega Cay), Vallez (Mt. Pleasant) and Mackenzie Cooler (Ridgeland).
- Hansen had a double-double with 52 assists and 16 digs, her second-highest dig total of the season. She led the Vols in digs for the second time this year.
- The Vols are 0-2 in five-set matches this year. They lost to Cleveland State 3-2 on Sept. 2.