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Aug. 28, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina hosts the Slovenian Women’s National Volleyball Team on Wednesday night in an exhibition at the Volleyball Competition Facility. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m., and fans can attend the contest free of charge.

The Gamecocks enter the exhibition with a 4-0 record after winning the 2012 Gamecock Invitational. Through one weekend of play, the team stands second in the SEC with a .352 hitting percentage. Four student-athletes stand in the top 15 in the league in hitting percentage, led by junior middle blocker Megan Kent, who hit .471 and ranks third in the league stats. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Cara Howley, who claimed the event’s MVP award, ranks eighth in the SEC in hitting percentage and 13th in blocks per set.

Slovenia will be playing its sixth exhibition on this tour of the American Southeast. The world’s 49th-ranked team went 4-0 during the Benson’s Hospitality Group Bulldog Invitational, only dropping one set to the Georgia State Panthers. Slovenia is preparing for the upcoming 2013 European Championship qualifiers. Starting Sept. 6, the Slovenians play in a qualifying tournament against Belgium, France and Montenegro, with the winner earning an automatic berth into the championships. The second-place team in the round-robin format will move onto a second qualifier later this fall.

Leading the way for the Slovenians has been opposite Tja?a Turn?ek, who posted double-digit kills in all four matches and 10 or more digs twice at Georgia last weekend. As a team, Slovenia hit over .280 in its matches against Troy, Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Georgia, including a high of .489 against the Bulldogs.

“We feel like it’s a good opportunity to play an experienced team with some professional players,” said Gamecock head coach Scott Swanson. “They jump-serve really hard. They hit the ball really hard. They know what to hit and when. It will help us get ready for SEC play.

“We’re going to be able to play some different lineups and give people some experience against a really high-level team,” Swanson added. “I hope that we can learn from their style of play a little bit. We’re going to have to be ready and tough-minded to compete with them.”

Fans not in Columbia or who are unable to take advantage of the free admission can follow the match via live stats or a live video feed at or on the team’s Twitter account at