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Nov. 14, 2012

Gamecocks’ Weekend Schedule
Fri., Nov. 16 at Alabama | 8 p.m. ET | | @GamecockVolley
Sun., Nov. 18 at No. 16 Florida | 1:30 p.m. ET | | @GamecockVolley | TV: Sun Sports

2012 SC VB Notes (11/14) Get Acrobat Reader

2012 SC VB Stats (as of 11/11) Get Acrobat Reader

South Carolina Team Notes

  • The Gamecocks are guaranteed to have an overall .500 record for the year. It marks the second time in the last decade that the team has accomplished that feat, matching the 21-9 2008 team.
  • Out of the six hitters who have played in half the sets and averaged at least one kill per set, three hit over .265 (Thévenin, Howley and Dozier).
  • The Gamecocks are undefeated when they win the blocking battle (9-0). More record breakdowns are found on page 6.
  • On the Mississippi weekend trip, the Gamecocks only gave up four points in the service game (two service errors at Mississippi State, one ace at both MSU and Ole Miss).
  • The Oct. 21 outing against the Rebels was the first all year the team did not make a service error.
  • 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.
  • Only two non-conference opponents hit over .200 against South Carolina: East Tennessee State (.207) and UAB (.285). In 15 of the 17 SEC matches, the foes have topped that mark.
  • Four teams went undefeated in the opening weekend of SEC play: Florida, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina.

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 & Losing

  • South Carolina hits .323 in matches it wins and .173 in those it loses, a .150 difference.
  • The opponents when South Carolina wins hit .167. That jumps to .340 if the Gamecocks lose, a .173 gap.
  • Winning Gamecock matches see SC post 2.89 more digs per set than the opposition. When the foes triumph, the Gamecocks are outdug by 2.45 a frame.
  • In wins, South Carolina wins the blocking battle by averages of 2.04 to 1.59. In setbacks, the Gamecocks get outblocked 2.67 to 1.40.

Attacking the Record Book

  • Taylor Bruns is sixth in assists (2,729), passing Shellie Higgins with her 37 assists at Coastal Carolina. Bruns is also eighth in assists per set (7.50) in Gamecock history.
  • Juliette Thévenin stands 12th in SC history with 1,057 kills and 10th with 2,746 attacks.
  • Twenty-three kills ties Thévenin with Caryn Case in 11th place.
  • Thévenin’s now second in kills per set (3.83) and 11th in digs per set (2.75) on the career charts.
  • Thévenin ranks 13th on the career points chart (as it would stand had everyone played in the rally-scoring era) with 1,169.5. She’s 84 points behind Megan Laughlin, who sits in 12th place.
  • She’s fourth on the points-per-set charts with a 4.24 average.
  • Cara Howley stands 16th on the career hitting percentage charts (.248). Thévenin ranks 19th at .245.
  • Paige Wheeler’s 964 digs ranks 13th on the career lists, eight from tying Sarah Morgan and Stephanie Pflughaupt.
  • Paige Wheeler is third on SC’s career charts in digs per set (3.61).

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.

Gamecocks in the SEC Stat Superlatives

  • South Carolina hit the third-highest hitting percentage in four-set match (.370 vs. Niagara) and in a five-setter (.297 vs. ETSU) for an SEC team this fall.
  • Cara Howley’s five aces at Mississippi State tied for the most for an SEC player in a three-set match and for second in any match length this year.
  • The Gamecocks’ .411 hitting percentage against Mississippi State (11/9) ranks sixth in SEC-only matches. The .402 mark from the Oct. 19 match against the Bulldogs is the 10th-best mark.
  • In SEC matches only, Juliette Thévenin has the third-most kills in a three-set match this year (18 vs. Georgia and LSU) and the fifth-most in a four-set contest (22 vs. Auburn).
  • Thévenin also stands second (20.5 vs. Georgia) in points in a sweep this year in an SEC match.

Historical Records

  • South Carolina is 722-548 (.569) all-time in volleyball.

Competition Level Rising

  • Two of the three opponents in the 2012 Carolina Clash held better final 2011 RPIs than 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 seventh RPI report from the NCAA (Nov. 12), the Gamecocks ranked 99th.
  • South Carolina beat top 100 RPI teams Georgia (58), Clemson (61) and LSU (75).
  • Twelve of the 13 losses came against top-100 RPI teams: Florida 11, Tennessee twice 16, Texas A&M twice 17, Kentucky 22, Missouri 47, Auburn twice 49, LSU 75 and Mississippi twice 100.

Scouting Alabama
The Crimson Tide hold a two-match winning streak, beating Mississippi State and Kentucky in four-set affairs. The 16-12, 5-11 Alabama team is strongest in serving in the SEC-only stats, ranking sixth with 1.08 aces a set. In the rest of the stats, the Tide ranks 10th or worse, including 13th in digs.

Kayla Fitterer leads Alabama offensively, posting 3.67 kills per set in league play while standing 20th in the league-only stats with a .262 hitting percentage. The senior is helped by freshman Laura Steiner, who ranks 15th in the league with 3.16 kills per set in conference play. Steiner is one of two freshmen in the top 20 in the league in kills and points. Andrea McQuaid leads the Tide with a .260 hitting percentage and adds 2.22 kills per set. Kanesha Burch leads the Tide block with 0.87 a frame in the SEC, which ranks 11th. Cristina Arenas serves as Alabama’s libero, posting 3.92 digs per set in the SEC. She’s also the second-best server for the team, ranking 14th with 0.24 aces a set. Kryssi Daniels leads the SEC with 0.37 aces a set. Setter Sierra Wilson averages 10.82 assists a frame during the year.

Series History vs. the Crimson Tide
Alabama leads the all-time series 23-17, dating back to 1979, with an 19-16 advantage since South Carolina joined the SEC in 1991. The last two years, the teams have split, both defending their home court. The Gamecocks are 5-13 in Tuscaloosa, including a loss in newly renovated Foster Auditorium last fall. The Crimson Tide won the previous meeting in Columbia.

Scouting No. 16 Florida
The 16th-ranked team in the country according to the AVCA coaches poll, Florida is 21-4 on the season, 15-1 in league play. Three of the Gators’ four losses came against top-15 foes with the other loss coming to Tennessee two Sundays before the Gamecocks’ visit. Florida leads the league in both hitting percentage (.302) and opponent hitting percentage (.164) in conference action. The second-best blocking team in league play, the Gators reject 2.64 attacks a frame. The Gators also stand second in aces, averaging 1.32 a set.

The veteran trio of seniors Betsy Smith and Tangerine Wiggs and junior Chloe Mann lead the offense, with the three ranking in the top four in hitting percentage in league outings. Mann leads the way with a .483 hitting percentage while also ranking third in blocks (1.11) and eighth in kills per set (3.60) in SEC play. Smith is fourth in hitting (.347) and 15th in blocks (0.85), while Wiggs is third in hitting (.352) and 19th in blocks (0.81). Ziva Recek is the league’s top freshman in kills per set (3.82), standing just behind teammate Mann in fifth in points per set in SEC play with 4.26. Taylor Brauneis sets the offense, posting 11.60 assists a frame in the league, and libero Taylor Unroe ranks fifth in the SEC with 4.25 digs a frame in conference outings. The two Taylors are joined by defensive specialist Holly Pole in the top seven of the SEC’s service ace standings, with Unroe ranking second with 0.35 aces per stanza.

Series History vs. the Gators
Florida holds a 46-7 advantage in the series over South Carolina, including a 23-2 mark in Gainesville. South Carolina’s last win at Florida came on Oct. 18, 1986.