Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Oct. 13, 2011

Volleyball Notes 10/13/11 Get Acrobat Reader

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Facing their fourth and fifth consecutive opponent from the Southeastern Conference Western Division, South Carolina heads to Alabama (9-10, 2-6 SEC) and Mississippi (5-11, 1-7 SEC) for the weekend’s matches. Friday’s contest in Tuscaloosa is slated for a 7 p.m. CDT first serve at Foster Auditorium, while Sunday’s match in Oxford begins at 1:30 p.m. CDT in Gillom Sports Center. Gametracker live stats will be available for both matches, and score updates come regularly to our Twitter feed, handle GamecockVolley.

700 And Counting
In the 39th year of sponsoring volleyball, South Carolina has been to seven NCAA Tournament and posted 17 20-win seasons in history. On Sat., Sept. 10, the Gamecocks tallied the 700th win in program history, dispatching College of Charleston in five for the win. Not content there, the Gamecocks started the climb to 800 with a sweep of Winthrop. South Carolina is the sixth team in the SEC to compile 700 wins all-time, following Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU and Tennessee.

The Improvement Is Easy to See
South Carolina surpassed its win total from 2010 before starting SEC play. To put that in perspective, the Gamecocks did not win their seventh match of 2010 until the 27th match last season on Nov. 13, 79 days into the season. They did not win their first match of the year until Sept. 10, which was the third weekend of play. The 2011 edition won its first seven matches inside the first eight days of the schedule.

Once Again, South Carolina Among the Youngest
After tying for the nation’s lead with nine freshmen on the roster last year, the Gamecocks are still among one of the youngest teams in the country. According to data compiled by Brian Wolff at Buffalo, the 12 underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) rank eighth in the country in number. By percentage of roster members, the Gamecocks’ 75 percent mark stands sixth in the country. A pair of historically-strong programs also make the list, with Penn State and Hawaii also making the top 10 in both.

South Carolina Among Nation’s Best
Halfway into the season, the Gamecocks are among the nation’s leaders in digs, ranking 13th with a 17.67 per-set average. Offensively, South Carolina is 54th in assists (12.65), 62nd in kills (13.55) and 68th in hitting (.233). The full stats breakdown for the Gamecocks come on page seven of the notes.

Carolina Relying on Rookies Early in 2011
South Carolina is a young team, as you likely read above. Two freshmen outside hitters, Hanna Forst and Bethanie Thomas, have filled starting roles most of the season. Thomas stands second on the team with her 2.32 kills average and third with a 2.93 digs average. Forst ranks sixth on the team in kills per set (1.80) and fifth in digs per set (2.04).

Competition on Career Digs Chart
Three Gamecocks appear in a row on the all-time digs list at South Carolina now. Junior Taylor Bruns ranks 47th with 408 digs, 12 ahead of sophomore Juliette Thévenin. Sophomore Paige Wheeler is coming on fast, with 383 (49th in SC history) in her career now. The next person outside of each other to pass is Julie Morrison, who made 437 digs from 1984-87.

Top 50 in Gamecock History
A pair of Gamecocks moved into the top 50 on South Carolina’s all-time lists in 2011. Senior Teresa Stenlund now stands 50th in kills (396) and 49th in attack attempts (1016) for her career, while sophomore Juliette Thévenin moved into the top 50 in digs, where she’s currently 48th with 396. Thévenin also ranks in the top 50 in kills (531, 36th), attacks (1,423, 36th) and points (599.0, 46th) while Stenlund is in the top 50 in points (500.00, 50th) and in the top 40 in blocks solo (28, T-28th), block assists (136, T-36th) and total blocks (164, T-32nd).

Junior setter Taylor Bruns ranks 11th in school history in assists (1,494), passing Petra Lorenzi during the College of Charleston Invitational. She’s now tied for 48th in aces with 49 and 47th in digs with 408 in her career.

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. She also gained all-tourney accolades at the College of Charleston Invitational. She currently ranks fourth in the SEC in kills and points and seventh in digs.

Stenlund Stands Strong as Lone Senior
The only senior on this year’s squad, Teresa Stenlund is providing a steady presence in the middle. She ranks third on the team in kills (2.19 per set), while she been a larger presence at the net, posting 0.88 blocks per set, including a 1.29 per set average against LSU and Arkansas last weekend. She became the 50th person in South Carolina Volleyball history to record 500 points, hitting the mark with her block assist in the third set against Arkansas.

Stenlund has tended to save her best for the home tournament. Last season, Stenlund tied a 27-year-old record with five solo blocks in the three-set affair against Lipscomb during the Gamecock Invitational. During this year’s event, she hit .393 and averaged 1.45 blocks per set, tops on the team.

Frankie’s Not Working in Vain
Sophomore middle blocker Frankie Vain captured Gamecock Invitational All-Tournament Team accolades after hitting .519 in the four matches, posting 2.31 kills per set in the process. The St. Louis product also tied classmate Paige Wheeler with four aces in the event, tops on the team. She tied her career best with 10 kills against Gardner-Webb to start the event before posting back-to-back .538 hitting marks against Davidson and Elon.

On the year, Vain leads the team and ranks fifth in the SEC with a .332 hitting percentage.

Thomas Standing Tall
Freshman outside hitter Bethanie Thomas impressed the Gamecock coaching staff from the first day of practice this fall. They got the early glimpse at what was to come, as the freshman has played in every match and ranks second on the team in kills (2.32 per set) and third in digs (2.93 per set). She also leads the team in serve-reception percentage (.966).

The MVP of the Gamecock Invitational, she hit .391 and ranked second on the team in kills and third in digs during the event. Those are the same places she ranks in the team standings as well. Thomas’s best offensive outing came against Elon, where she hit .577 with 16 kills and eight digs. That came on the heels of her posting her first double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs in the sweep of Davidson.

Wheeler Posting Gaudy Numbers
Sophomore Paige Wheeler came into the season fighting to be the one to fill the huge shoes of Hannah Lawing and, before her, Sarah Cline in the libero role. So far, she played well, leading the team and ranking second in the SEC with 4.52 digs per set. The sophomore earned all-tournament team honors at the College of Charleston Invitational, averaging five digs per set during the event. She posted the third 30+ dig contest in the SEC this season with 31 in the win over College of Charleston. She averaged 5.86 digs per set during the LSU/Arkansas home weekend on Oct. 7-9, including posting 25 digs against the Tigers on Friday night.

Pair of Top (Missing?) Outside Hitters on Opposite Sides Friday
Friday’s contest in Foster Auditorium could feature two of the top outside hitters in the SEC pending their return. The Tide’s Kayla Fitterer and the Gamecocks’ Juliette Thévenin rank third and fourth in the SEC in kills per set, while they are second and fourth, respectively, in points. Both have been out recently, with Thévenin sitting out the last two weekends due to a head injury. Fitterer missed last weekend, but there have been no reports on why she was out.

Scouting Alabama
Alabama stands at 9-10 overall and 2-6 in SEC play. In the SEC overall stats, the Crimson Tide are second in digs behind the Gamecocks. In every other stat, they are seventh or worse. When looking at SEC matches only, Alabama is in the bottom half of every team stat, ranking a high of seventh in aces. In both sets of stats, Alabama is in the bottom two in blocking (with the Gamecocks).

Kayla Fitterer leads Alabama offensively with 4.24 kills per set. She’s second on the team with 0.27 aces per set and fourth in digs with 2.63 per frame. She did miss last weekend, with her replacement Shelbi Goode posting 15 kills in the six sets. Andrea McQuaid plays a hybrid right-side/setter role, leading the team with 5.45 assists per set while ranking third with 1.71 kills, 2.68 digs and 0.25 aces averages. Cortney Warren is second on the team with 2.63 kills per set and a .280 hitting percentage. Cristina Arenas and Kelsey Anderson lead the team on the back row with 3.27 and 3.08 digs per set, respectively. Stephanie Riley is a part-time setter, dishing out 5.42 assists and adding 2.21 digs per set.

Series History vs. the Crimson Tide
Alabama owns a 21-16 mark over the Gamecocks, including a 12-5 advantage in Tuscaloosa. The Gamecocks have played in Foster Auditorium before, holding a 1-4 record in the facility prior to its renovations and volleyball’s return. South Carolina’s lone win in the facility came in 1980, while the program dropped its last three trips there after joining the SEC. The Gamecocks did win the final meeting last season between the two teams in four sets in Columbia.

Scouting Ole Miss
The Rebels enter the weekend with a 5-11 overall record and a 1-7 mark in SEC play. The Rebels’ calling card is at the net this year, as they rank fourth in the SEC with 2.36 blocks per set. That helps the team stand sixth in opponent hitting percentage. In the other stats overall, Ole Miss is either 10th or 11th. In the SEC stats, the same is true, as the Rebels stand fifth in blocks, sixth in opponent hitting percentage and eighth in hitting percentage. In kills, assists, and digs, they are 11th, while they stand 10th in aces.

Regina Thomas will be the focus for the Gamecocks in preparations. The senior middle blocker leads the SEC in hitting percentage (.380) and blocks (1.14), while she’s third on the team with 2.17 kills per set. Setter Amanda Philpot averages 8.30 assists per set and 1.42 kills per frame, fifth on the team. Allegra Wells (2.50 kills per set) and Kara Morgan (2.31 kills per set) are the other top offensive weapons. Libero Morgan Springer stands fourth in the SEC with 3.98 digs per set and leads her team wtih 0.22 aces per set.

Series History vs. the Rebels
The Gamecocks own a 23-13 advantage in the series against Ole Miss, including an 8-6 edge in Oxford. In the Gillom Sports Center, the teams have split eight meetings. the Rebels swept the 2010 season series, a year after South Carolina did the same.

Reuniting Club Members
Three Gamecocks get to see former club teammates this weekend. Junior Brandi Byers and sophomore Lindsey Craft played with the same A5 club that Alabama junior Leigh Moyer and Ole Miss junior Ashley Veach once played for in the Atlanta area. And Ole Miss freshman Ty Laporte came out of the Columbia-based Magnum club that redshirt freshman Kellie Schmidt played with prior to her college days.

Single-Match Superlatives
South Carolina’s players have posted outstanding individual efforts this fall, with many registering on the single-match charts for the Gamecocks. Sophomore Juliette Thévenin registered on two lists during the team’s season-opening win over Montana. Her 21 kills and 50 attacks both tied for fourth on the three-set match list.

During the Gamecock Invitational, freshman Bethanie Thomas’s .577 hitting percentage against Elon became the fifth-best performance on the four-set match list. And sophomore Paige Wheeler tallied 28 digs against the Phoenix, tied for third on that list.

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, they 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.

A Decade Since This Feat
South Carolina was the last Southeastern Conference team to take a defeat in 2011, matching a feat last done in 2001. That team started 6-0 before falling in their first match of conference play against No. 10 Florida in a five-set thriller. The 2001 season was the middle of a three-season run of NCAA appearances for the Gamecocks. It was also the first year of rally scoring in NCAA volleyball.

Wheeler Bettered Weekly Award Winner
During the second week of play in the Gamecock Invitational, she out-dug the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week, Kentucky’s Stephanie Klefot. The Wildcats’ back-row specialist totaled 63 digs, a 5.00 average, while Wheeler tallied 67 digs, good for a 5.15 average. The Gamecocks’ top digger, Wheeler tied for third on the four-set match charts with 28 digs in the Elon win. Also, she landed four aces during the Gamecock Invitational.