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Oct. 3, 2013

October 3, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team will welcome SEC foes Arkansas and Texas A&M to the Volleyball Competition Facility this weekend.

The Gamecocks will take on the Razorbacks on Friday at 7 p.m. and will wrap up the weekend on Sunday against Texas A&M at 1:30 p.m. 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. Arkansas, 7 p.m. | | Live Video
Sunday: vs. Texas A&M, 1:30 p.m. | | Live Video
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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
South Carolina opened SEC play on the road and came back with a 1-1 record after falling in three sets at Missouri and knocking off Tennessee in four sets. The win was the Gamecocks’ first over the Lady Vols since Oct. 10, 2008 and their first in Knoxville since Nov. 8, 2002. Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led South Carolina in kills in both matches, recording 10 against the Tigers and 23 against the Lady Vols. She also tallied 16 digs against Tennessee. The 33 kills moved her to third on South Carolina’s career kills list with 1,376. Blocking was a key to victory for South Carolina as it out-blocked the Lady Vols 13-8. The Gamecocks recorded seven blocks in the fourth set alone. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil turned in her third double-double of the season, finishing with 41 assists and a career-high 20 digs. She also tallied a career-high seven blocks (two solo, five assists). Freshman outside hitter Dessaa Legros contributed a career-high 12 kills.

Gamecocks in SEC Home Openers
South Carolina is 13-9 all-time in its first home SEC match of the season. Since moving into the Volleyball Competition Facility in 1996, the Gamecocks are 10-7 in home SEC openers. The Gamecocks are 1-1 under head coach Scott Swanson.

Scouting Arkansas
Arkansas enters Friday’s match with a 9-5 overall record and a 2-1 mark in SEC play. The Razorbacks are coming off a four-set loss to undefeated Missouri. Arkansas returns two starters and its libero from last year’s squad that went 22-10 and 13-7 in the SEC and earned a NCAA Tournament berth. Offensively, the Razorbacks have relied on junior outside hitter Meredith Hays to lead the way. A transfer from New Mexico State, Hays ranks third in the SEC in kills, averaging 4.32 per set. Arkansas has a pair of senior setters who can get the job done. Raymariely Santos leads the way with an average of 6.76 assists per set, while Ashley Vasquez is close behind with an average of 5.25 assists per set. Santos, who is also averaging 1.50 kills and 2.44 digs per set, recorded a triple-double earlier this season against Tulsa with 13 kills, 26 assists and 11 digs. Defensively, Arkansas has been a force at the net as it ranks third in the SEC, averaging 2.62 blocks per set. Freshman middle blocker Ana Sofia Jusino leads the squad and ranks seventh in the SEC with an average of 1.18 blocks per set, while sophomore middle blocker Summer Morgan ranks 10th in the league with an average of 1.14 blocks per set.

Robert Pulliza is the head coach of the Razorbacks and is in his sixth season with the program. Pulliza has compiled an 83-86 record during his tenure.

Series History vs. Arkansas
Friday’s matchup will be the 31st meeting between the Gamecocks and Razorbacks. Arkansas holds a 20-10 lead in the all-time series and has won six of the last 10 meetings. South Carolina won last year’s meeting in five sets at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

Last Time vs. Arkansas – Nov. 23, 2012
The Gamecocks pulled out a thrilling five-set victory over the Razorbacks last season at the Volleyball Competition Facility by the scores of 24-26, 25-18, 28-26, 19-25 and 15-10. South Carolina set a school record for hitting percentage in a five-set match, hitting at a .357 clip. Juliette Thévenin led the way with 26 kills, while Taylor Bruns distributed 52 assists.

Scouting Texas A&M
Texas A&M heads into the weekend with a 9-3 overall record and a 1-0 mark in SEC play after defeating Georgia in three sets last weekend. The Aggies return two starters from last year’s team that went 25-6 and 16-4 in he SEC to earn a NCAA Tournament berth. As a team, Texas A&M ranks in the top-20 nationally in three categories. The Aggies are 11th in the country in kills per set (14.63), 13th in assists per set (13.56) and 19th in digs per set (16.81). Senior setter Allie Sawatzky is off to a stellar start to her final season in College Station. Sawatzky leads the SEC with three triple doubles and is tied for the lead in double-doubles with nine. On the season, she leads the team with a .328 hitting percentage and averages 2.12 kills and 9.81 assists per set. Sophomore outside hitters Sierra Patrick and Angela Lowak have been the Aggies’ top offensive weapons. Patrick ranks sixth in the conference with an average of 3.68 kills per set, while Lowak ranks 12th with an average of 3.34 kills per set. Freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers has been a force at the net as she ranks second in the conference in blocks, averaging 1.35 per set. Senior libero Kelsey Kinley anchors the back line with an average of 4.00 digs per set, which ranks seventh in the SEC.

Laurie Corbelli is in her 21st season as head coach of the Aggies. Corbelli has compiled a 433-203 record in College Station and is 533-309 in 28 years as a head coach.

Series History vs. Texas A&M
South Carolina and Texas A&M are meeting for the fifth time. The Aggies have won all four previous meetings, with the last being a three-set win on Oct. 28, 2012. The first meeting between the two programs was on Oct. 10, 1993, a three-set Texas A&M victory.

Last Time vs. Texas A&M – Oct. 28, 2012
The Aggies claimed a three-set victory over the Gamecocks at the Volleyball Competition Facility by the scores of 25-19, 25-16 and 25-23. Juliette Thévenin led the Gamecocks with 10 kills, while Darian Dozier finished with four kills and three block assists.

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. She is currently in the top-10 in five career categories, ranking third in kills (1,376), second in kills per set (4.05), third in attacks (3,506), sixth in points (1,515.0) and third in points per set (4.46). On the season she is averaging a league-best 4.94 kills and 5.32 points per set. For a complete list of career records see page eight.

Gamecocks in the SEC 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 in both kills (4.94) and points (5.32) per set. In SEC matches only, Thévenin ranks third in kills (4.71) and fourth in points (5.43). Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier has been one of the best blockers in the league as she ranks third in the conference in blocks with an average of 1.25 per frame. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil is seventh in the SEC in assists per set (10.28), while junior libero Michaela Christiaansen is seventh in digs per set (4.00). McNeil is also in the top 20 in blocks as she ranks 17th with an average of 0.92 per set. As a team, South Carolina has been one of the most efficient offenses, ranking fourth with a hitting percentage of .252.

And in the NCAA Stats
Senior Juliette Thévenin is in the top 10 in the nation in two categories, ranking sixth in kills per set (4.94) and eighth in points per set (5.32). Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier is just outside the top 50 in blocks as she ranks 55th with an average of 1.25 per set.

Seeing Double
Senior Juliette Thévenin and sophomore setter Kellie McNeil are tied for the sixth most double-doubles in the conference with three apiece. The duo has recorded double-doubles in the same match twice this season, at Clemson and at Tennessee. The Gamecocks are 3-1 in matches Thévenin and McNeil have recorded double-doubles.

Doing it All
Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil has been one of South Carolina’s most versatile players this season. In the Gamecocks’ win at Tennessee, McNeil came up just shy of finishing with a triple double, recording 41 assists and career-highs in digs (20) and blocks (7). A transfer from Minnesota, McNeil is averaging 10.28 assists, 1.94 digs and 0.92 blocks per set this season. She is also averaging 0.88 kills per set while hitting .340.

Filling a Need
Freshman middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller has stepped into the lineup and made her presence felt at the net after missing the first six matches of the season with an injury. Angermiller came up big at the Duke Invitational, averaging a team-best 1.70 blocks per set. She posted a season-high nine blocks to lead the team against Duke. On the season she is averaging 1.33 kills per set while hitting .269 and is averaging 1.50 blocks per set.

Thévenin Garners SEC Honor
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 23. Thévenin earned the award for the third time in her career after leading the Gamecocks to three wins to claim the Carolina Classic title. Thévenin, who was named tournament MVP, averaged 5.70 kills per set while hitting .436 for the tournament and averaged 6.00 points and 2.40 digs per set. In South Carolina’s win over Western Carolina, she recorded 20 kills, the most in the league in three sets this season. She hit a career-best .571 to finish with 26 kills in a four-set victory over Robert Morris.

(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 played in four preseason tournaments this season, the Gamecock Invitational, Big Orange Bash, Duke Invitational and 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. South Carolina won the Gamecock Invitational and Carolina Classic titles.

Accumulating Hardware
The Gamecocks have played in four preseason tournaments this season and have been well represented during the tournament awards ceremonies. Senior Juliette Thévenin was named MVP of the Gamecock Invitational and the Carolina Classic. Sophomore Kellie McNeil earned a spot on the Gamecock Invitational 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. Dozier was also named to the Carolina Classic All-Tournament Team.

Thévenin Named Preseason All-SEC
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin was named to the Preseason All-SEC squad. Thévenin, a second-team All-SEC selection in 2012, looks to close out her Gamecock career in strong fashion after ranking second in SEC play in both kills per set (4.40) and points per set (4.81) a year ago.

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).

Gamecocks on TV
South Carolina has one match scheduled to be on television this season. The Gamecocks’ match at Florida on Wednesday, Nov. 13 will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

All-Time Records
• South Carolina holds a 733-560 (.567) record.
• The Gamecocks are 193-219 (.468) in SEC play.
• In matches played at the Volleyball Competition Facility, South Carolina is 154-76 (.670).