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Nov. 22, 2011

Volleyball Notes 11/22/11 Get Acrobat Reader

2011 Gamecock Volleyball Stats Get Acrobat Reader

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina ends the 2011 season on Wednesday night with a tough test at No. 17 Florida. Thanksgiving Eve’s first serve is set for 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Gametracker live stats can be found , with updates available on the team’s Twitter feed, @GamecockVolley.

Chance to End 2011 at .500, Already Doubled 2010’s Wins
The Gamecocks enter Wednesday’s match with a chance at ending the season with a .500 record. At 14-15, a win over the Gators evens the slate for South Carolina, who has had one winning season in the past eight (2008, 21-9).

But it is still a successful season for head coach Scott Swanson and his staff in its first season at South Carolina. The Gamecocks doubled their win total from 2010. The 2011 squad won its first seven matches inside the first eight days of the schedule, while the 2010 edition didn’t accomplish that seventh win until the 27th match 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.

Stenlund Stands Strong as Lone Senior
The only senior on this year’s squad, Teresa Stenlund has provided a steady presence in the middle. She ranks second on the team with 2.21 kills per set and leads the team with 0.79 blocks per set. 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 on Oct. 10.

Stenlund has played her best volleyball to end her senior year. In the last four matches, she’s had double-digit kills, including her career-best 15 kills and season-high .636 hitting percentage at Arkansas.

Competition on Career Digs Chart
Three current Gamecocks appear close together on the all-time digs list at South Carolina. Sophomore Paige Wheeler jumped ahead of the group into 37th with 575 career digs, one from surpassing Shonda Cole for 36th. In 39th now is sophomore Juliette Thévenin with 519 digs, while junior Taylor Bruns ranks 41st with 498 digs, five behind Petra Lorenzi in 40th with 503.

Top 50 in Gamecock History
A quartet of Gamecocks continue to climb in the top 50 on South Carolina’s all-time lists in 2011. Senior Teresa Stenlund stands 46th in kills (491) and attack attempts (1233) and 47th in points (611.0), while she’s in the top 30 in all blocking categories: blocks solo (32, T-21st), block assists (160, T-28th) and total blocks (192, 27th). Sophomore Paige Wheeler ranks 37th in digs with 575. Sophomore Juliette Thévenin ranks in the top 40 in kills (664, 29th), attacks (1,806, 27th), digs (519, 39th) and points (742.0, 33rd). And you can find Bruns’ standings in the next note.

Bruns Cements Herself in Gamecocks’ Top 10 Setters
Junior setter Taylor Bruns has steadily improved in her three-year career in Columbia, and now she’s among the top 10 in both assist categories. She moved into 10th in assists in the win over Georgia, while she’s ranked in the top 10 in assists per set most of the year, standing eighth currently. Also, Bruns is now tied for 37th with 62 aces and ranks 41st with 498 digs.

Bruns’ best career outing came in the home win over Alabama. Her 14 points tied for the team best, as she tallied seven kills (without an error), a career-best-tying six aces and two block assists in the sweep.

Single-Season Marks Still in Play
South Carolina sophomores Juliette Thévenin and Paige Wheeler both are chasing rally-scoring-era single-season marks. With one match to go, Wheeler is third in digs and second in digs per set chasing Sarah Cline’s 2009 season in raw digs and trying to stay above it in the per-set category. Thévenin ranks fifth in kills per set during this era, just ahead of Cally Plummer’s 2001 campaign. Wheeler already has recorded the most digs and best digs-per-set mark for a sophomore in recorded South Carolina history.

Career Top-10s Changing
A trio of Gamecocks are working to etch their names onto the program’s top-10 lists early in their careers. Junior Taylor Bruns stands eighth in assists per set all-time and 10th in assists, passing Katelyn Panzau in the Georgia win on Nov. 20. Sophomore Juliette Thévenin holds spots in the kills-per-set (third, 3.66), points-per-set (fifth, 4.10) and digs-per-set (10th, 2.86) categories. And sophomore Paige Wheeler has moved into fourth on the digs-per-set list (3.36). Full listings can be found on page 10 of the notes.

Wheeler A Two-Time SEC Defensive Player of the Week
Sophomore Paige Wheeler officially has arrived, joining her predecessors Hannah Lawing and Sarah Cline as Gamecock liberos who claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Twice now, Wheeler earned the certificate, both in November after her fourth and sixth 20+ dig matches of the year. She’s been outstanding recently, posting a .988 serve-reception percentage in the past seven matches (165 attempts).

Those weren’t the first award for the Virginia Beach, Va., native. 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.

Glover Responds to Chance with Big Georgia Outing
Biding her time most of the season, junior outside hitter Christina Glover posts one of her top outings in the win over Georgia. Removed from hitting drills a couple of weeks prior, Glover got the call in the second set against the Bulldogs and posted eight kills with only two errors while also digging 11 attacks in the three winning sets for the Gamecocks. South Carolina’s first legacy player (her mother Alexis played in 1979-80) did this in front of a larger-than-normal family group that included her brother, who plays football for The Citadel and stayed in town after his game on Saturday at Williams Brice Stadium against the Gamecocks.

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.

The sophomore returned to action at Ole Miss after missing five matches due to concussion symptoms and picked up where she left off, posting a double-double with 17 kills and 10 digs in the four-set victory. Thévenin ranks fourth in the SEC in kills, seventh in points and 10th in digs and has posted three straight double-doubles.

Opportunity Knocks, Howley Answers
When Juliette Thévenin was out due to injury, it created a chance for redshirt freshman Cara Howley to reenter the lineup after her true freshman campaign was cut short by injury. The McKinney, Texas, native took the opportunity and ran with it, tying for the team lead with a 2.50 kills average and helped better the team’s hitting percentage during the five-match stretch without Thévenin. When Thévenin returned against Ole Miss, Howley shined, posting 12 kills and a .524 hitting percentage.

Howley’s closing the season strong, posting a season-best 14 kills in the Georgia win. She’s tallied double-digit points in each of the last three matches.

Looking to Change Fortune vs. Ranked Teams
Since 1991, the Gamecocks hold a 8-91 record against ranked opponents. Half of those wins over ranked teams have come against SEC foes, two over a Florida team (1994 and 2006). Also, never has a win over a ranked team come on the road in SEC play. Only once have the Gamecocks won a match against a ranked team at its gym (Notre Dame, 9/14/2003).

South Carolina Among Nation’s Best
The Gamecocks are among the nation’s leaders in digs, ranking 42nd with a 17.00 per-set average. Offensively, South Carolina is 74th in assists (12.51), 75th in hitting (.229) and 78th in kills (13.38). The Gamecocks’ full stats rankings both in the NCAA and in the SEC come on page seven of the notes.

Weekday Games a Mixed Bag
South Carolina owns an 11-16 record in games played Monday thru Thursday in the rally-scoring era (since 2001). That includes seven-straight losses to Florida in that stretch (10/10/07, 10/31/07, 10/15/08, 11/26/08, 10/7/09, 10/27/10 & 10/19/11).

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 making the top 10 in both.

Single-Match Superlatives
The Gamecocks have posted outstanding individual efforts this fall, with some ranking on the program’s single-match charts. 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. Wheeler tied that mark again in the home win over Georgia on Nov. 20.

Junior Taylor Bruns landed six aces against Alabama (11/6), tying for fourth on the three-set match charts with five others.

Thévenin Return Brings About Season Best
South Carolina posted a season-best .394 hitting percentage in the win at Ole Miss. That ranks as the third-best four-set match mark in Gamecock history and the highest in the rally-scoring era. The return of sophomore outside hitter Juliette Thévenin seemed to spark the Gamecock offense and open things up for other hitters.

Scouting Florida
The Gators, ranked 17th in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, bring a 23-5 overall record and a 16-3 mark in SEC play. Florida will not figure into the SEC title picture, a very rare occurance in the past 20 years, as Tennessee and Kentucky will play for that on Wednesday night. The Gators have the SEC’s best hitting percentage and have held opponents to the second-lowest mark in the league during conference matches. A strong serving game (1.56 per set, first in SEC only) sets up everything for Florida, including the blocking, which is third in league-only contests.

Loaded with dangerous hitters, senior Kristy Jaeckel leads the team with 3.36 kills per set. Senior Kelly Murphy ranks second on the team in kills with 2.35 per set and tops the squad with 5.93 assists per set from her hybrid right-side/setter position. Chloe Mann has stepped up recently, now holding a .540 hitting percentage with 1.98 kills and 0.96 blocks a set. Betsy Smith also has a good hitting percentage at .387, averaging 1.49 kills per set to go with her 0.98 blocks a frame. Chanel Brown serves as the other setter, dishing out 5.58 assists per set. Taylor Unroe is the libero, posting 3.58 digs per set. Jaeckel (2.27 digs average) and Murphy (2.21 digs average) help Unroe on the back row.

Series History vs. the Gators
Florida holds a 45-7 advantage in the series over South Carolina, including a 22-2 mark in Gainesville. South Carolina won its first two trips to the Gators’ home in 1984 and 1986 but have dropped the last 22, including 20 straight since entering the SEC in 1991. The Gamecocks’ last win in the series came on Sept. 17, 2006, a four-set victory over then-sixth-ranked Gator team. Florida has won 10 straight since that contest five years ago.

Reuniting Club Members
Florida’s Betsy Smith played for the A5 club out of the greater Atlanta region, the same club that produced Gamecocks Lindsey Craft and Brandi Byers.

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.

700 And Counting
In the 39th year of sponsoring volleyball, South Carolina has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances and posted 17 20-win seasons in history. On 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.

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.

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).