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Sept. 3, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina won the 2012 The Mason Inn Patriot Invitational, going 4-0 in the tourney with sweeps of George Mason, Navy and West Virginia and a four-set win over Niagara, the defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Earning tournament Most Outstanding Player and Best Hitter honors, junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin averaged 4.27 kills per set, 3.18 digs per set and 0.64 blocks per set, first or second among the Gamecocks in all three categories. She hit .351 on the weekend, best among South Carolina’s outside hitters. In two-plus seasons, Thévenin has moved into 20th place in South Carolina history in kills and attempts with the efforts at George Mason.

Joining Thévenin with awards were junior libero Paige Wheeler, who took the Best Defender award, and senior Taylor Bruns, named the best setter. Wheeler, playing near her hometown of Virginia Beach, tallied 4.92 digs per set, helping the team to a 16.54 average on the weekend. Bruns posted one double-double in the event, with 32 assists and 13 digs in the sweep of the host Patriots. She also had 17 kills, including seven without an error in the Niagara win.

George Mason’s Lola Owokoniran took the best blocker award this weekend, while Niagara’s Ellen Senf and Kari Honomichi, West Virginia’s Evyn McCoy and Navy’s Erin Fortner also made the all-tournament team.

South Carolina takes on archrival Clemson as part of the Carolina Clash’s first day on Friday. For the 7 p.m. EDT match, 200 “Beat Clemson” t-shirts will be distributed at the gate among other promotions. Tickets are $5 at the door for adults and $2 for youth 17 and under.