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Sept. 1, 2011

Gamecock Invitational Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Gamecock Invitational Central

Coach Swanson
Gamecock Spotlight: Teresa Stenlund

After a successful opening weekend that included bringing home the Temple Invitational title, South Carolina returns home to host the Gamecock Invitational against four North Carolina schools: Davidson, Elon, Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville. The nine-match event begins on Friday at 9:30 a.m., with the Gamecocks playing at 12 noon on both Friday and Saturday. The final match begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, pitting South Carolina and UNC Asheville.

Tickets are just $5 for adults and $3 for youth 17 and under. Fans can get season tickets that will be honored for each of the nine matches in the Gamecock Invitational for $25 for adults and $10 for youth 17 and under. On Friday, fans will receive free pom poms, while on Saturday, free magnets will be distributed at the door.

Belgian Sensation Picking up Where She Left Off
Juliette Thévenin started 2011 much as she finished 2010, when she earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors and became the fifth freshman since 1983 to lead the Gamecocks in kills, joining Lori Rowe, Cally Plummer, Berna Dwyer and Lynae Vanden Hull with that distinction.

Thévenin earned her first SEC Offensive Player of the Week award after the opening weekend of play when she averaged 4.80 kills and 4.90 digs per match during the Temple Invitational. The sophomore also claimed tourney MVP and most valuable attacker honors at the event.

Big Opening Weekend at Temple Invitational
South Carolina came away from the Temple Invitational with some gaudy stats and a nice new trophy. The Gamecocks enter this weekend atop the SEC standings in kills, assists and digs. Junior setter Taylor Bruns leads the league with an 11.44 assists average, while sophomore outside hitter Juliette Thévenin is third in both kills and digs. The entire list is in the PDF version of the notes linked above.

Taylor Bruns Guides Offense in Impressive Start
Junior setter Taylor Bruns guided the team to an astounding weekend at the Temple Invitational. The squad posted a .271 hitting percentage in the three matches, which stands fourth in the SEC. But Bruns also did a lot herself, especially in the season opener. Against Montana, she dished out 36 assists, made a career-best 20 digs and four block assists while also adding two kills and two aces.

Carolina Relying on Rookies Early in 2011
South Carolina is a young team, with 12 of the 16 players on the roster listed as freshmen or sophomores. Two of the freshmen, outside hitters Hanna Forst and Bethanie Thomas, have latched onto starting roles already. Forst ranks second on the team in kills per set (2.89) after one weekend of play and had the Gamecocks’ two solo blocks during the event. Thomas stands fourth on the team with her 3.33 digs per set, while she’s posted a 2.33 kills average on a .270 hitting percentage. She was one kill away from a double-double in her debut, while Forst finished the Temple contest a dig shy of a double-double as well.

Playing Time Spread Out
New head coach Scott Swanson still has plenty to learn about his new team. He took advantage of the opportunities at Temple to see as many players as possible. A total of 13 players saw time, with everyone playing at least one full set. Only sophomores Juliette Thévenin and Paige Wheeler played in all 10 sets.

You Never Know What You’ll Hear
The Gamecocks have people who can speak in many different tongues. Student-athletes Teresa Stenlund and Juliette Thévenin both list four languages in their grasp, while assistant coach Michelle Collier can speak three. If the staff’s kids (each coach has a child aged two or under) picked up all the languages one might hear from that trio, she would be working on seven languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish).

Roster Filled from All Over
Out of 16 players on South Carolina’s 2011 roster, a mere handful come from the same states. Four hail from South Carolina, and two come from Georgia. The rest come from states as far away as California, Indiana and Maryland. One even comes from Belgium, making this the 16th-consecutive season at least one Gamecock hailed from a different country.

Scouting Gardner-Webb
Gardner-Webb enters the weekend with a 1-1 record, losing at East Carolina before sweeping Montreat College on Wednesday night. Tyler Cockrell leads the Bulldogs at the net, blocking two balls per set while also tying for third with a 2.00 kills average. Lauren Evans fronts the attack, posting 2.57 kills and 0.57 aces per set. Heather Feldman dishes out 8.57 assists per frame and has eight aces in seven sets. Evan Moffitt leads the club with 3.29 digs per set.

Scouting Davidson
The Wildcats enter the tournament with a 3-1 record, gaining wins over Mercer, UNC Wilmington and NC Central. Caroline Brown leads the team with a 3.81 kills average and a 0.56 aces mark, while Tindall Sewell and Madison Benedict both average over two kills a set and hold a better than .400 hitting percentage. Ariel Ley leads the squad with 11.12 assists per frame. Molly Crenshaw leads the team in digs with a 3.75 average for a team that has out-dug its opponent by over two digs per set in the early going. The squad has issues at the net, averaging just 1.12 blocks per set.

Scouting Elon
The Phoenix are 4-0 on the season, sweeping through the tournament at NC Central last weekend. The squad went five against Florida Gulf Coast while they swept the host, Hampton and Campbell. Chanelle Smith leads the team with a 3.14 kills average, while Carly Ledbetter is second with 2.92 per frame. Ali Deatsch serves as the libero, leading the team in digs (3.86 per set) and aces (0.71). Ledbetter is second with 0.67 aces per set. Elon also has not been forceful at the net, posting only 1.07 blocks per set.

Scouting UNC Asheville
UNC Asheville brings a 1-2 record into the weekend after a trip to Birmingham, Ala., where they dropped contests to UAB and Samford. Cindi Miller fronts the attack with 2.91 kills per set. She also passes well, posting 2.91 digs per frame. Anna Moore and Holly Shelton both average around 2.5 kills per set, with Shelton leading the Bulldogs with a .322 hitting percentage. Hallie Morse leads the team in assists (8.00 per set) and blocks (0.64 per frame). Alex Stewart leads the team with a 4.64 digs average.