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Aug. 21, 2009

In 2008, the Gamecocks made great strides because of a consistent offense run by transfer Bridget Denson-Dorman. The Golden Valley, Minn., native has not played in the NCAA Tournament in her career, but that is her goal – and the goal of every Gamecock player – starting this fall.

Denson-Dorman led the SEC in assists per set last season, ranking in the top 50 in the nation in that category as well. She helped guide the Gamecocks to a .259 team hitting percentage, the best in the league. That statistical win marked the first time in a decade that Florida did not lead the league in hitting efficiency. Two of the best single-match hitting percentages in South Carolina history came last season thanks in part to Denson-Dorman. While not the biggest setter in the land, she still ranked fourth among the regular rotation with 0.44 blocks per set. An AVCA All-South Region honorable mention as a junior, her experience in big matches could be the difference between the Gamecocks hanging in and winning some tough matches this year.

“It feels good to enter the season with good depth and a returning starter at the setting position,” commented Somera. “Bridget had a good season and dealt well with the many changes in the life of a transfer last year. Acclimating to a new system, team and school is a lot like being a freshman again, and she handled those changes well. Now that she understands our program and the conference, I believe Bridget is capable of a season that will put her in contention for postseason honors.”

Former starter Jordan Bradosky will push Denson-Dorman again this season. The Centerville, Ohio, product started a majority of her matches as a freshman before backing up Denson-Dorman last year. Bradosky could push the senior for playing time and jump in if the team needs a spark.

“Jordan is one of our best volleyball players and could contribute to our success in a number of roles,” Somera said. “While her primary position is setter, she is a solid serve receive passer and is making great strides as a defender. Jordan really wants to be on the court, and she is one of our most competitive kids. I believe she is going to figure out a role that gets her out there in the same way Petra (Lorenzi) did last year.”

The Gamecocks also brought in Taylor Bruns to push the returners. A “Senior Aces” top 100 pick last season, the Normal, Ill., native has led successful teams during her high school days, as her University High School squad won three consecutive Corn Belt Conference championships. At 5-11, she is the tallest of the trio and could bring a different look to the lineup if called upon up front.