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Aug 29, 2013

Gamecock Invitational NotesGet Acrobat Reader

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team will host the Gamecock Invitational this weekend at the Volleyball Competition Facility to open the 2013 season.

The Gamecocks are slated to play South Carolina State (10 a.m.) and Florida International (7 p.m.) on Friday and High Point (3 p.m.) on Saturday.

Friday: vs. South Carolina State, 10 a.m.
Friday: vs. Florida International, 7 p.m.
Saturday: vs. High Point, 3 p.m.
Watch: Live Video
Live Stats: Tournament Central
On Twitter: @GamecockVolley
Ticket Info

South Carolina Overview
• South Carolina enters its third season with head coach Scott Swanson.
• Last year’s team went 18-14, the program’s second winning season in the last decade and the most wins since 2008 (21).
• The Gamecocks return five letterwinners from a year ago, including two starters (senior Juliette Thévenin, sophomore Darian Dozier).
• With the departure of 11 letterwinners, South Carolina lost 97 percent of its production from last season in assists (1,346), 78.1 percent in digs (1,252) and 58.9 percent in kills (876).
• The 2012 Gamecocks improved their offensive efficiency for the second straight year, raising their hitting percentage 29 points to .255, which ranked third in the SEC.
• South Carolina returns its leader in kills (Juliette Thévenin, 453) and its second-leading blocker (Darian Dozier, 67).

Home Match Notes
• This weekend’s three matches are a part of a 16-match home slate in 2013.
• South Carolina’s record for most home matches in a season is 21 (1990).
• The Gamecocks are 19-12 at home in Scott Swanson’s first two seasons at South Carolina.
• The 2012 squad began the year 9-0 in matches at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

(Recent) Home Tournament History
• The Gamecocks have become a familiar tournament host as they have held a home tournament every year since 2000 except for 2001 and 2005.
• Under Scott Swanson, South Carolina is 11-0 in tournaments held at home
• South Carolina’s last loss at home in a tournament was a 3-0 setback against Lipscomb in the Gamecock Invitational on Sept. 11, 2010.

All-Time Records
• Through 40 years of volleyball, South Carolina holds a 724-555 (.568) record.
• The Gamecocks are 192-218 (.468) in SEC play.
• In matches played at the Volleyball Competition Facility, South Carolina is 148-76 (.661).

Leaving Her Mark
• Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin returns for one last season in Garnet and Black.
• She is a preseason All-SEC selection after ranking second in SEC play in both kills per set (4.40) and points per set (4.81) last season.
• The Mont-sur-Marchinne, Belgium, native earned second-team All-SEC honors in 2012, becoming the first Gamecock to earn All-SEC honors since 2008 (Belita Salters).
• Entering the season, Thévenin is in the top 10 in four career categories in the Gamecock record book, ranking second in kills per set (3.89), fourth in points per set (4.30) and eighth in both kills (1,124) and attacks (2,903).

Instant Impact
• South Carolina added a pair of transfers to the roster in the offseason in sophomore setter Kellie McNeil (Minnesota) and junior libero Michaela Christiaansen (Pepperdine).
• McNeil, who will serve as a team captain along with seniors Juliette Thévenin and Lindsey Craft, played in 17 matches for Minnesota in 2011 and ranked second on the team in assists (32) and assists per set (6.15).
• Christiaansen played in all 64 matches during her time at Pepperdine and averaged 2.78 digs per set.
• A native of Tucson, Ariz., Christiaansen helped lead the Waves to a NCAA Regional final and a West Coast Conference title in 2011. She also played sand volleyball for the Waves, and helped the program win the 2012 AVCA National Team Championship.

About South Carolina State
• Head coach Valerie Jones is in her first season with the Lady Bulldogs.
• South Carolina State returns five starters from last year’s squad that went 9-15 overall and tied for second in the Southern Division in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play with a 6-4 mark.
• Senior outside hitter Desire Waller, a two-time MEAC Player of the Year, returns to lead the Lady Bulldogs after leading the MEAC with 4.91 kills per set a year ago.
• The Lady Bulldogs also return senior middle blocker Alyse Lewis, who led the team in blocks (96) last season, and sophomore setter Melanie Williams, who ranked first on the team in assists (800).

About Florida International
• The Panthers enter the 2013 season with five starters returning from last year’s team that went 10-20 overall.
• Head coach Rita Buck-Crockett enters her first season as the Panthers indoor head coach after serving as the school’s sand volleyball coach last year. She will coach both squads this season.
• Florida International will have to replace second-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection Marija Prsa, who graduated after registering 11 double-doubles and leading the team in kills (360) last season.
• Senior middle blocker Kimberly Smith returns after leading the team in blocks (105) and ranking second in kills (242) in 2012.
• Sophomore setter Ashlee Hodgskin is also back after averaging a team-high 7.43 digs per set.

About High Point
• High Point returns five starters from a team that went 20-11 in 2012.
• The Panthers were picked to finish third in the Big South Preseason Poll.
• Junior outside hitter Kristin Heldt and sophomore defensive specialist Annemarie Chin were selected to the preseason All-Big South team.
• Heldt, a second-team All-Big South selection in 2012, averaged 2.80 kills per set with a .246 hitting percentage.
• Chin earned second-team All-Big South and Big South All-Freshman team honors last season by leading High Point with 438 digs.
• Senior setter Maddie Simpson averaged 9.88 assists per set to lead the team last season.
• Junior outside hitter Chelsea Davis also had a strong 2012 season, averaging 2.93 kills per set and 2.86 digs per set.