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Sept. 19, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With the start of SEC play a week away, the South Carolina volleyball team has its final tune-up this weekend as it will host the Carolina Classic at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

The Gamecocks will face Western Carolina on Friday at 7 p.m. and Robert Morris (1 p.m.) and Presbyterian (7 p.m.) on Saturday. Season tickets for South Carolina’s home dates are on sale. Adult season tickets are $25, while youth 17 and under can get their tickets for $10. For more information, contact the South Carolina Ticket Office at 800-4SC-FANS or visit the ticket office homepage at

Friday: vs. Western Carolina, 7 p.m. | Live Video
Saturday: vs. Robert Morris, 1 p.m. | Live Video
Saturday: vs. Presbyterian, 7 p.m. | Live Video
Live Stats: Tournament Central
On Twitter: @GamecockVolley
Ticket Info
Tournament Notes

South Carolina Quick Hits
• 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).

Last Time Out
The Gamecocks were on the road for the second-straight week as they traveled to Durham, N.C., for the Duke Invitational. South Carolina picked up a pair of wins, defeating Utah State in four sets and Liberty in three. The Gamecocks closed out the weekend with a loss in four sets to host Duke to take their record to 5-4 on the season. Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier and sophomore setter Kellie McNeil were named to the All-Tournament Team. Dozier averaged 2.55 kills per set while hitting .350 on the weekend and averaged 1.18 blocks per set. McNeil distributed 9.73 assists per set, had 11 kills (.370) and averaged 1.09 blocks and 1.91 digs per set.

Setting the Scene
South Carolina looks to close out its pre-SEC schedule in strong fashion as it is set to host the Carolina Classic this weekend at the Volleyball Competition Facility. The Gamecocks will face Western Carolina on Friday at 7 p.m. and will take on Robert Morris (1 p.m.) and Presbyterian (7 p.m.) on Saturday. Western Carolina is 8-3 on the season, while Robert Morris and Presbyterian are 0-10 and 1-11, respectively.

Scouting Western Carolina
The Catamounts enter the weekend with an 8-3 record after going 2-1 a week ago in the UNC Wilmington Classic in Wilmington, N.C. It’s the program’s best start since it started 10-0 in 1985. Western Carolina went 8-23 last season, including a 4-12 mark in Southern Conference play. Experienced is the word that best describes this year’s Catamount roster. A total of 10 letterwinners return from last season, including all six starters and the libero. Junior outside hitter Jordan Timmerman has been Western Carolina’s top offensive option as she averaged 3.21 kills per set. She has also averaged 2.44 digs per set. Junior outside hitter Caitlin Piechota has also been a solid option, averaging 2.67 kills per frame. The Catamounts’ primary setter is sophomore Cristina Nazario. A native of Columbia, S.C., Nazario is averaging 10.23 assists per set. Senor libero Morgan Cochran leads the nation in digs with an average of 6.36 per set. Western Carolina’s top blocker has been junior middle Addy George, who is averaging 1.23 blocks per set. Head coach Karen Glover is in her third season at Western Carolina and has a 29-46 record at the school.

Series History vs. Western Carolina
Friday marks the 11th all-time meeting between South Carolina and Western Carolina. The Gamecocks have never lost to the Catamounts as they hold a 10-0 record in the series. The teams last met on Sept. 2, 2006. South Carolina won that matchup in three sets. The Gamecocks have swept the Catamounts in seven meetings.

Scouting Robert Morris
The Colonials are 0-10 heading into the weekend after playing in three tournaments and are one loss away from matching the worst start in program history, which happened in 1994. Robert Morris went 17-17 in 2012 and finished second in the Northeast Conference with a 13-3 mark. Six letterwinners return from that squad. Junior outside hitter Sydney Sizemore has been the team’s top attacker, averaging 2.55 kills per set, while freshmen April Krivoniak (2.21) and Arden Fisher (2.18) also average more than two kills per set. Junior Hannah Hoffman is the Colonials’ primary setter, averaging 8.95 assists per set. Junior libero Melissa Bograd anchors the back line as she leads the squad in digs with an average of 3.50 per set. Second-team All-Northeast Conference selection Becky Jay is also back and leads the team in total blocks with 30. As a team, Robert Morris is being outhit by its opponents .253-.156. Head coach Dale Starr is in his fourth season with the Colonials and has compiled a 49-62 record at the school. For his career, Starr is 145-143.

Series History vs. Robert Morris
Saturday will mark the first-ever meeting between South Carolina and Robert Morris.

Scouting Presbyterian
Presbyterian 1-11 on the season and has lost 10 straight matches. The Blue Hose lone win was a 3-1 victory over Georgia State in the second match of the season. Junior libero Mary Trimpe and junior setter Ashtin Frank, both 2012 All-Big South selections, return to lead the way for the Blue Hose. Trimpe leads the team in digs with an average of 5.27 per set, while Frank is distributing 8.89 assists per set and is averaging 1.86 digs per frame. Junior middle Rachel Hall has been Presbyterian’s top attacker, averaging 2.64 kills per set with a hitting percentage of .224. Junior middle blocker Kelly Berryman and senior middle Andrea Barman have been Presbyterian’s top defenders at the net with an average of 0.75 and 0.73 blocks per set, respectively. The Blue Hose have been outhit by opponents .241-.125 this season. Head coach Korrinn Burgess is in her first year at Presbyterian.

Series History vs. Presbyterian
Saturday will be the first-ever meeting between South Carolina and Presbyterian.

Leaving Her Mark
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin has been a regular in the starting lineup during her Gamecock career and her name will be scattered throughout the school record book when she’s done. Thévenin currently ranks in the top 10 in five career categories at South Carolina. She is second in kills per set (3.98), fourth in points per set (4.39), fourth in attacks (3,315), fifth in kills (1,286) and sixth in points (1,417.0). For a complete list of career records see page six.

Gamecocks in the SEC/NCAA Stats
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin has had a stellar start to her final year in Garnet and Black as she currently leads the SEC and ranks 10th in the nation in kills with an average of 4.76 per set. Thévenin, who is hitting .257 on the season, also leads the conference in points per set with an average of 5.10, which ranks 13th nationally. Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier is tied for fifth in the conference in blocks with an average of 1.21 per frame. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil is eight in the SEC in assists per set (10.18), while junior libero Michaela Christiaansen is 9th in digs per set (3.91). As a team, South Carolina is in the top half of the SEC in two categories, ranking sixth in hitting percentage (.253) and sixth in blocks (2.31).

(Recent) Home Tournament History
South Carolina has held a home tournament every year since 2000 except for 2001 and 2005. Under Scott Swanson, the Gamecocks are 14-0 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.

Tourney Toughness
The Gamecocks have played in three tournaments to date (Gamecock Invitational, Big Orange Bash and Duke Invitational) and will have played in four tournaments before conference play begins, including this weekend’s Carolina Classic. It’s the most tournaments a South Carolina team has played in before conference play since 2003, when the Gamecocks played in four that season.

Making it Look Easy
Freshman middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller showed no signs of nervousness as she made her collegiate debut at the Duke Invitational. Angermiller was a force at the net, averaging a team-best 1.70 blocks per set. She posted a season-high nine blocks to lead the team against Duke. Angermiller also averaged 1.80 kills per set while hitting .318.

Accumulating Hardware
The Gamecocks have played in three tournaments this season and have been well represented during the tournament awards ceremonies. Senior Juliette Thévenin was named MVP of the Gamecock Invitational, while sophomore Kellie McNeil earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Thévenin was also named to the All-Tournament Team at the Big Orange Bash. At the Duke Invitational, McNeil and sophomore Darian Dozier each earned a sport on the All-Tournament Team.

New Faces
This year’s South Carolina squad doesn’t have a lot of familiarity to it, as only five letterwinners return from a year ago. Head coach Scott Swanson brought in 12 newcomers this season, including a freshman class of 10 players. The Gamecocks have received some immediate help from transfers Kellie McNeil (Minnesota) and Michaela Christiaansen (Pepperdine).

All-Time Records

• South Carolina holds a 729-559 (.566) record.
• The Gamecocks are 192-218 (.468) in SEC play.
• In matches played at the Volleyball Competition Facility, South Carolina is 151-76 (.665).