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Oct. 3, 2012


Gamecocks’ Weekend Schedule
Fri., Oct. 5 at Texas A&M | 9:30 p.m. EDT | Live Stats | Live Video (via | @GamecockVolley

Television Networks for Friday at Texas A&M: SportsSouth, Sun Sports, FS Southwest, FS Midwest, FS Arizona, FS San Diego, FS Prime Ticket (check local listings to ensure availability and time)

Sun., Oct. 7 at LSU | 2 p.m. EDT | Live Stats | @GamecockVolley

2012 SC VB Notes (10/3) Get Acrobat Reader

2012 SC VB Stats (as of 9/30) Get Acrobat Reader

South Carolina Team Notes

  • South Carolina has posted a better hitting percentage, more kills and more digs than all but five foes in 2012. Four of those in kills and digs and all five in hitting percentage have come in SEC play.
  • Four teams went undefeated in the opening weekend of SEC play: Florida, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
  • Out of the six hitters who have played in half the sets and averaged at least one kill per set, four hit over .260.
  • Only two non-conference opponents hit over .200 against South Carolina: East Tennessee State (.207) and UAB (.285). All six SEC foes have topped that mark.
  • South Carolina has been out-blocked seven times thus far in 2012 (3-4), while the 2011 team was topped on 13 occasions (1-12 in those matches).
  • At No. 21 Tennessee (9/23), the Gamecocks did not allow an ace, successfully passing all 87 serves they received.
  • The last time South Carolina did not allow an ace came in Scott Swanson’s first game as head coach, against Montana on Aug. 26, 2011.

All About the Winning Streak

  • The 13-0 start for the Gamecocks ranks as the best in the program’s NCAA-era history. The 1983 team began the season 12-0.
  • The 13-match winning streak was the second-longest documented skein in program history.
  • The longest winning streak came in 1983, as the team posted a 14-match streak from Oct. 15-Nov. 18.
  • The loss that ended the longest skein came in the 1983 Metro Conference Tournament final. Florida State won the five-set match to earn the automatic berth to the third NCAA Tournament. The field only had 28 teams at the time.
  • That 1983 team also had the best start previously in program history with 12 wins. That was the second-longest documented winning streak for the Gamecocks until this year.
  • For the second-consecutive year, South Carolina was the last undefeated team in the Southeastern Conference.

The Difference Between Winning and Losing

  • South Carolina hits .311 in matches it wins and .164 in those it loses, a .147 difference.
  • The opponents when South Carolina wins hit .177. That jumps to .314 if the Gamecocks lose, a .137 gap.
  • Winning Gamecock matches see SC post 2.49 more digs per set than the opposition. When the foes triumph, the Gamecocks are outdug by 2.4 a frame.
  • In wins, South Carolina wins the blocking battle by averages of 2.07 to 1.71. In setbacks, the Gamecocks get outblocked 2.73 to 1.47.

Attacking the Record Book

  • Taylor Bruns is seventh in assists (2,426) and eighth in assists per set (7.29).
  • Juliette Thévenin stands 14th in SC history with 902 kills and with 2,390 attacks.
  • A total of 23 more attacks move Thévenin past Stephanie Pflughaupt for 13th on that list.
  • Thévenin ranks 19th on the career points chart (as it would stand had everyone played in the rally-scoring era).
  • She’s fourth on the points-per-set charts with a 4.18 average.
  • Thévenin’s now second in kills per set (3.76) and 11th in digs per set (2.78) on the career charts.
  • Paige Wheeler is third on SC’s career charts in digs per set (3.54).
  • With two more digs, Wheeler will move past Ivana Kujundzic into 20th on the career dig charts.
  • These updated charts can be found on page 9 in the PDF version of the notes.

Gamecocks in the SEC Stat Superlatives

  • South Carolina hit the third-highest hitting percentage in four-set match (.370 vs. Niagara) and the second-best in a five-setter (.297 vs. ETSU) for an SEC team this fall.
  • The team’s .419 hitting percentage against UNC Asheville ranks seventh in the overall SEC match performances.
  • Juliette Thévenin has the fifth-most kills in a three-set match in the SEC this year (18 vs. Georgia) and the fourth-most in a four-set contest (22 vs. Auburn).
  • Thévenin also holds the fifth-most points in a sweep this year by an SEC player (20.5 vs. Georgia).
  • Taylor Bruns tied for the third-most assists by an SEC team in a four-set affair this year (54 vs. UAB).

Record-Charting Single-Match Performances

  • Sophomore Bethanie Thomas’s three solo blocks vs. ETSU (8/25) tied for second on the program’s five-set match listing.

Historical Records

  • South Carolina is 719-540 (.571) all-time in volleyball.
  • In the Volleyball Competition Facility, the team stands at 146-72 (.670).

Competition Level Rising

  • The three opponents in the 2012 Carolina Clash held better final 2011 RPIs than all but one of SC’s first eight foes.
  • Clemson finished at 54, UAB 84 and Winthrop 149 in the last RPI of 2011 (Niagara was 146).
  • In the first RPI report from the NCAA (Oct. 1), the Gamecocks ranked 59th.
  • South Carolina beat top 100 RPI teams Clemson (85), Georgia (71) and LSU (65).
  • Three of the four losses came against top-40 RPI teams (Auburn 39, Tennessee 27, Florida 24).
  • The Aggies rank 22nd in the first RPI report.

South Carolina Overview

  • South Carolina returns four starters and its starting libero from the 2011 team.
  • That 2011 team, the first coached by Scott Swanson, doubled the win total from the previous year.
  • The leading attacker by kills, junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, is back.
  • The top defender by digs, junior libero Paige Wheeler, returns.
  • Setters Taylor Bruns and Lexie Pawlik make up the vast majority of the 97 percent of assists back.
  • The Gamecocks lost almost 50 percent of the team blocks from last season.
  • The next highest total of “lost” stats are kills, where 32.2 percent departed.
  • Last season, the Gamecocks led the SEC in digs per set. Only 12.2 percent of those departed.

Gamecocks in TV Matches
Research dug up the fact that the Gamecocks are 13-15 when the big cameras come out, snapping a six-match TV losing streak last November against Alabama. This will be the 15th appearance by the Gamecocks on a FOX-related regional sports outlet. The historical listing of South Carolina matches on cable or local broadcast TV stations are found in the PDF version of the notes.

Roster Notes

  • Eight freshman, including seven true rookies, are a part of the 17-person roster.
  • Three players hail from each South Carolina and Texas, the most on the team.
  • A pair of student-athletes both hail from California and Maryland.
  • Six other states and another country are represented by the seven remaining athletes.
  • For the 17th-consecutive season, the Gamecocks have had at least one international player.
  • A total of 16 players have appeared on the court so far. Only freshman Kira Speer has not seen any action and is on track for a redshirt year.

Home Matches Notes

  • South Carolina is playing 17 matches plus one exhibition in the Volleyball Competition Facility this fall, the most since moving into the building in 1996.
  • It’s one more than the inaugural season of the VCF, when SC hosted the 1996 SEC Tournament.
  • The most home matches ever for South Carolina came in 1990, when the team hosted 21 contests.
  • The match against Clemson on Sept. 7 had 1,512 fans in attendance, the third-largest crowd in the history of the Volleyball Competition Facility.
  • It was the largest crowd since 2001 in the building, when 1,793 people packed the stands for the Sept. 21 match against Florida.
  • The 1,512 fans were nearly 250 over the capacity of the gym in the setup the team utilized starting during SEC play last fall.
  • Four times, over 1,000 people have packed the VCF for a match, tying the 1996 inaugural year in the building for the most crowds over 1,000.
  • This 2012 team holds the second-longest winning streak for a Gamecock team since moving into the VCF in 1996, winning 12 straight matches from Nov. 6, 2011 to Sept. 16, 2012.
  • All three double-digit VCF winning streaks were snapped by Florida, a 17-match span from Oct. 14, 2001 to Oct. 24, 2002, a 10-match stretch from Sept. 13, 2000, to Nov. 10, 2000, and the latest.

Scouting Texas A&M
The Aggies, just outside of the AVCA top-25 poll, bring a 12-2 overall record and a 4-1 league mark into Friday’s matchup. In SEC play, Texas A&M has the most kills and assists per set of any league team. Their defense has limited SEC foes to a .186 hitting percentage, second in the league stats, while they have hit .237 themselves in their first five SEC matches.

Alisia Kastmo leads the Aggies with a 3.59 kills average and ranks second on the team with a 0.26 aces average. Tori Mellinger ranks second in both kills (3.07) and digs (3.15). Lindsey Miller tops the team with 1.19 blocks per set and stands third with 2.63 kills a frame. Allie Sawatzky is an active setter, dishing out 9.94 assists a set while also posting 1.98 kills a frame, fourth on the team. Libero Megan Pendergast makes 3.96 digs a set and 0.32 aces a frame, both high marks for the Aggies.

Series History vs. the Aggies
This will be the third meeting in history between South Carolina and Texas A&M, with the Aggies holding a 2-0 advantage heading into Friday’s match. The Aggies swept a 1993 contest in Columbia and a second-round NCAA Tournament meeting in 1995.

Gamecock Ties with the Aggies
Former club teammates square off in the match at College Station. Gamecock freshman Jenna Allen played for the same Texas Advantage club team that produced Aggie freshman Shelby Sullivan and senior Stephanie Minnerly. And redshirt sophomore Cara Howley can catch up with two fellow former Skyline club members, senior Tori Mellinger and freshman Kate Praslicka.

And the Gamecock travelling volleyball staff may get to say hello to former South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman and chief of staff Marcy Girton, who now have those same roles at Texas A&M.

Scouting LSU
Going into Wednesday’s contest against Georgia, LSU is 6-9 on the season, splitting the last two weekends of SEC play with two five-set wins over Kentucky and Mississippi State. Back-row defense is LSU’s best asset, according to the SEC-only stats, as the Tigers rank fourth with 16.77 digs per set. SEC foes are hitting .237 against LSU, the 10th-best mark in the league, and the Tigers have recorded only 0.85 aces a set in league play, 11th in the SEC.

Desiree Elliott, Madie Jones and Helen Boyle power the LSU offense, with the trio all averaging over 3.2 kills a set in SEC action. Elliott (0.85 bps) and Khourtni Fears anchor the block, with Fears leading the team with her 1.12 blocks per set this season. Setter Malorie Pardo does not attack often, with only 68 tries in 54 sets, but she does send out 9.89 assists a frame. Pardo also ranks as the toughest active server, posting 0.28 aces a set. Sam Delahoussaye, stepping into the libero role, averages 3.24 digs a set overall and 4.42 in SEC play.

Series History vs. the Tigers
LSU holds a 18-13 lead in the all-time series that began when South Carolina entered the SEC. At home, the Gamecocks snapped a seven-match Tiger winning streak three weeks ago. When playing in Baton Rouge, LSU has a 9-6 advantage, including a six-match skein dating back to the 2006 season.

Gamecock Ties with the Tigers
Four Gamecocks can greet former club teammates: Jaclynn Gerig and Taylor Bruns (Illini Elite), Madie Jones, Meghan Manneri and Cara Howley (Skyline) and Cati Leak and Bethanie Thomas (Rocket City).