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May 11, 2010

2010 South Carolina Volleyball Schedule

2010 Schedule in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina volleyball team released its 2010 volleyball schedule on Tuesday, a 30-game docket that includes a season-opening trip to 2009 regional semifinalist Illinois and six matches against other Palmetto State schools.

Seven of the 10 non-conference matchups pit the Gamecocks against top-100 teams from the final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released by the NCAA last fall. And the Southeastern Conference once again plays a double round-robin schedule, meaning South Carolina will have 13 matches against teams in last year’s NCAA Tournament field.

“When designing the schedule, we have to work in the interest of our team and our conference,” said Gamecock head coach Ben Somera. “This year, we tried to make sure we had a good mix of nationally-prominent programs from competitive conferences as well as good RPI teams in our region.”

The first tournament of the year sends the Gamecocks to the Land of Lincoln over Aug. 27-28, where they face tourney teams in defending Sun Belt champion Middle Tennessee and Illinois and a tough test from the Mountain West’s BYU Cougars.

“Our first tournament gives us the opportunity to play high caliber national and regional competition,” Somera said. “Illinois and BYU are successful programs from competitive conferences, and Middle Tennessee has been a top performer in the NCAA South Region. These matches will provide early feedback for our team in areas we will need to improve on to have a successful season.”

They return back to South Carolina for the Carolina Challenge on Sept. 3-4 to face Winthrop, Southern Conference winners College of Charleston and Clemson for the third year in the round-robin event, which is being hosted by Winthrop this season.

“The agreement by all four schools to play and rotate the site has worked out well for all the teams involved,” commented Somera. “These matches guarantee quality opponents with good RPI and promote volleyball in the Palmetto State.”

The final non-conference event also stands as the home opener, as the Gamecock Invitational, held on Sept. 10-11, includes in-state schools South Carolina State and Furman as well as regionally ranked and defending Atlantic Sun Conference champ Lipscomb.

“Our home tournament has regional ranking implications and gives us the opportunity to compete with teams who win a lot of matches in their respective conferences,” Somera remarked.

In addition to the five South Carolina schools in the tournaments, the Gamecocks also play host to The Citadel on Sunday, Sept. 16 for the first meeting on the volleyball court between the two schools.

“I want the level of interest in volleyball to grow in this state, and playing other in-state institutions has a natural appeal to many of our fans,” said Somera.

SEC play starts on the road on Sept. 17 with a trip to Tennessee, followed by a Sunday showdown against Kentucky in Lexington. From there, the Gamecocks play eight of their next 10 matches in the confines of the Volleyball Competition Facility, including Oct. 3’s meeting against defending SEC champs LSU and Kentucky and Tennessee’s trip to Columbia on Oct. 22 and Oct. 24, respectively. The Gamecocks close the season at home against perennial powerhouse Florida on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.

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