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Sept. 14, 2009

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – South Carolina senior libero Sarah Cline earned Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday, after making her third consecutive all-tournament team this fall.

Cline posted three 20+ dig matches, including a 27-dig performance against 2008 NCAA Tournament participant Rice, to help the Gamecocks go 2-1 in the Mizuno Invitational II. Those 27 digs are the most in the 25-point scoring era at South Carolina and are the most since Cline’s program-record 36 against Arkansas in 2007. The Rock Hill, S.C., product leads the SEC with a 4.89 digs-per-set average and has helped the Garnet and Black to the top spot in the conference statistical rankings by over two digs a set. For the season, Cline has five 20-dig matches, more than her total last year.

The senior stands third in South Carolina’s career charts in digs per set and fifth in digs. She’s started each of the last 76 sets as libero and is one of three Gamecocks to play every set this year. It’s her first weekly award from the SEC, and Cline becomes the second Gamecock to ever win the defensive award since its inception in 2004. Her teammate Hannah Lawing was the first back in 2007. Kentucky’s Sarah Rumely garnered the offensive award, while Auburn’s Katherine Culwell took home the freshman certificate.

The Gamecocks open SEC action on the road this weekend, starting with a 7 p.m. CDT match at Arkansas on Friday, Sept. 18.