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May 11, 2012

by Koby Padgett
Assistant Media Relations Director

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s 2012 volleyball freshman class grew to seven, as head coach Scott Swanson added Elizabeth Johnbull (Pflugerville, Texas), Litsa Darby (Charleston, S.C.), Maddie Frome (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Kira Speer (Durham, N.C.) to his three initial signees from the fall.

Johnbull is a 5-10 athlete from Connally High School in Pflugerville, Texas, where she tallied over 400 kills in each of the last two season, helping the Cougars claim 27 wins in both campaigns. A first-team all-district player last fall, she claimed the best offensive player award as a junior in 2010. Last season, Johnbull led Connally to the regional quarterfinals. She played with the Max Performance club in Round Rock, Texas.

“Elizabeth is a smooth and quick athlete that will train for us as a middle blocker,” said Swanson. “We are excited about her potential and ability to become an offensive weapon and defensive force in her time at South Carolina.”

Litsa Darby won the Lowcountry Player of the Year award from the Charleston Post and Courier this fall after leading Ashley Hall to two state titles in her four-year career. A 5-8 setter, Darby set a school record with 3,884 assists in her career, guiding the team to a 162-19 record. A MaxPreps/AVCA State Player of the Week in 2011, Darby earned 2011 High School All-America honors. The four-time all-state player also took home the title of 2011 Miss Volleyball from the High School Sports Report. Darby is the cousin of current Gamecock outside hitter Christina Glover.

“Litsa is an experienced setter with a winning attitude and great competitive spirit,” remarked Swanson. “Litsa will be able to come in and learn the offense from our two current setters and will have the ability to help us become a more competitive team in the next four years of her career.”

A 6-0 outside hitter, Fromme played her prep ball at Mater Dai in southern California, helping the Monarchs go 27-9 this past season. A first-team All-Trinity League selection in 2011, Fromme helped Mater Dai take the Cal Challenge during 2011 and claimed a spot on the all-tournament team. Frome played with the Tstreet Volleyball Club as well.

“Maddie is a fast athletic outside hitter that can swing on either pin,” Swanson stated. “Growing up on the beaches of Southern California definitely gives her an experience and volleyball IQ advantage. Maddie should help our gym become more competitive immediately.”

Kira Speer, a 6-1 outside hitter, led Riverside to two-straight PAC-6 titles, including a 26-3 record in 2011. Posting 413 kills during her senior season, Speer earned the conference player of the year award. The Pirates, led by Speer, advanced to the 4A quarterfinals in North Carolina last year. Speer played with the Triangle Volleyball Club.

“Kira is a very solid volleyball player that will be able to fill a role as a right-side or left-side attacker,” commented Swanson. “She is currently on a very good club team that plays at the open level which has already helped her prepare for the jump to the SEC.”

This quartet joins Jenna Allen, Sarah Blomgren and Darian Dozier, who signed during the November period. They all join the team this fall, the second year under Swanson’s direction. Their debut in the Garnet and Black comes on Aug. 24, when the Gamecocks host Temple at 12:30 p.m. in the Gamecock Invitational presented by Courtyard Marriott.