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Oct. 16, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. — After having back-to-back home weekends, the South Carolina volleyball team will be on the road this weekend for a pair of SEC matchups in Mississippi.

The Gamecocks (10-8, 2-4 SEC) will open the weekend at Mississippi State (9-9, 0-4) on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. South Carolina will then face Ole Miss (10-9, 0-6) on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET at the Gillom Sports Center in Oxford, Miss.

Friday: at Mississippi State, 8 p.m. ET | Live Stats | Live Video
Sunday: at Ole Miss, 2 p.m. ET | | 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
The Gamecocks dropped a pair of SEC home matches over the weekend, falling in three sets to Georgia on Friday and in three sets to No. 15 Kentucky on Sunday at the Volleyball Competition Facility. Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led the way, averaging 4.17 kills per set and 2.33 digs per set. Thévenin, who recorded a match-high 16 kills while hitting .324 and eight digs in the loss to Georgia, remains the SEC leader in kills (4.82) and points per set (5.18). Freshman outside hitter Dessaa Legros hit .348 to record nine kills against Georgia, while freshman middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller added six kills and seven blocks against the Bulldogs. Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier led the way against the Wildcats, finishing with eight kills (.385) and three block assists. Dozier currently ranks 11th in the SEC in hitting (.343) and third in blocks per set (1.20).

Scouting Mississippi State
Mississippi State returns five letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 4-25 overall and 0-20 in SEC play. The Bulldogs have the second-youngest roster in the SEC in terms of underclassmen with 13, trailing only South Carolina (14). They also have the third largest freshman class in the conference with seven. Mississippi State enters the weekend on a four-match losing streak and has a 9-9 overall record and 0-4 mark in the SEC. Freshman opposite hitter Kimmy Gardiner has been Mississippi State’s top attacker, averaging 4.00 kills per set, which ranks fourth in the SEC. Outside hitters Brooke Sassin (2.78), Taylor Scott (2.70) and Dani McCree (2.10) are all averaging more than two kills per set. The Bulldogs have also relied on a newcomer at the setter position, as freshman Suzanne Horner has distributed 10.86 assists per set, which ranks fifth in the SEC. Horner also ranks sixth in service aces with an average of 0.33. As a team Mississippi State is one of the top serving squads in the conference as it ranks second with an average of 1.59 aces per set. Sophomore libero Roxanne McVey, a 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team selection, has been the anchor of the Bulldogs’ back line, ranking second in the conference with an average of 5.62 digs per set. Jenny Hazelwood is in her fifth year as head coach of the Bulldogs. She has compiled a 45-93 record during her tenure in Starkville.

Series History vs. Mississippi State
Friday’s matchup will be the 39th meeting all-time between South Carolina and Mississippi State. The Gamecocks hold a 28-10 in the series. South Carolina has won three straight in the series and eight out of the last 10 meetings. The Gamecocks are 8-6 all-time in Starkville.

Last Time vs. Mississippi State – Nov. 9, 2012
The Gamecocks swept the Bulldogs in last year’s meeting at the Volleyball Competition Facility by the scores of 25-18, 25-23 and 25-12. South Carolina hit .411 as a team. Outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led the way with 17 kills while hitting .500. Taylor Bruns added five kills and 38 assists in the win.

Scouting Ole Miss
Ole Miss heads into the weekend with a 10-9 overall record and a 0-6 mark in SEC play. The Rebels are on a six-match losing streak. Ole Miss returns three starters from last season’s team that finished the year at 12-17 and 6-14 in the conference. The middle blocking tandem of sophomores Ty Laporte and Nakeyta Clair, who were 2012 SEC All-Freshman selections, have led Ole Miss this season. Laporte leads the team in kills per set (2.52) and is second in blocks (0.75), while Clair leads the team and ranks fifth in the SEC in blocks (1.17) and averages 2.26 kills per set. Freshman right side Melanie Crow (2.10) and junior outside hitter Marie-Pierre Bakim (2.06) have also been reliable options for the Rebels as they both average more than two kills per set. Freshman Aubrey Edie has been Ole Miss’ primary setter, averaging 8.54 assists per set, which ranks 10th in the league. Freshman Kristen Brashear has been the top line of defense in the back for the Rebels, averaging 3.04 digs per set. Joe Getzin is in his 12th season as head coach of the Rebels. He has compiled a 155-191 record during his time in Oxford. Getzin is familiar with the South Carolina program as he served two stints as an assistant for the Gamecocks from 1993-95 and 2000-01.

Series History vs. Ole Miss
South Carolina and Ole Miss will square off for the 40th time on Sunday. The Gamecocks are 24-15 all-time against the Rebels. Ole Miss has won the last three meetings and six out of the last 10. South Carolina’s last win at Ole Miss was a 3-1 victory on Oct. 16, 2011. The Gamecocks are 9-7 all-time in Oxford.

Last Time vs. Ole Miss – Oct. 21, 2012
The Gamecocks dropped a three-set decision to the Rebels on Oct. 21, 2012 at Gillom Sports Center. Ole Miss won by the scores of 25-19, 25-12 and 25-21.

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 (1,442), second in kills per set (4.06), third in attacks (3,686), sixth in points (1,585.5) and third in points per set (4.46). On the season she is averaging a league-best 4.82 kills and 5.18 points per set. For a complete list of career records see page 10.

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 (4.82) and points (5.18) per set. In SEC matches only, Thévenin ranks first in kills (4.50) and second in points (4.93). 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 1.20 per frame. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil is seventh in the SEC in assists per set (10.33), while junior libero Michaela Christiaansen is seventh in digs per set (3.95). McNeil is also in the top 20 in blocks as she ranks 15th with an average of 0.88 per set.

And in the NCAA Stats
One Gamecock ranks in the top 50 nationally in the latest NCAA statistics report. Senior Juliette Thévenin is in the top 15 in the nation in two categories, ranking fifth in kills per set (4.82) and 10th in points per set (5.18).

Among the Active Leaders
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin is among the active career leaders in kills in the SEC and nationally. She ranks second in the SEC with 1,442, trailing only Missouri’s Lisa Henning (1,584). She is eighth in career kills per set among active Division I players with an average of 4.06. Her career average ranks 13th among all divisions.

Packing the Stands
Gamecock fans have given South Carolina a huge home-court advantage this season by packing the stands at the Volleyball Competition Facility. The Gamecocks have drawn seven crowds of more than 1,000 this season, including a VCF-record five straight, with the Arkansas (1,405) and Texas A&M (1,430) matches being the high marks. The seven matches of 1,000 or more fans is also a VCF record, breaking the previous mark of four, which was set in the 1996 and 2012 seasons.

Winning the Hitting Battle
When South Carolina out-hits its opponents, it is 9-1 on the season. The Gamecocks’ lone loss when having a better hitting percentage than their opponent was a five-set loss to Winthrop (.219-.144). South Carolina has hit .272 in wins this season and .205 in losses.

Getting Served
The Gamecocks are a perfect 6-0 when recording more service aces than their opponents. South Carolina averages 1.1 service aces per set in wins and 0.6 in losses.

Seeing Double
Senior Juliette Thévenin and sophomore setter Kellie McNeil lead the team in double-doubles, with five and four, respectively. The Gamecocks are 4-2 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 10.33 assists, 1.97 digs and 0.88 blocks per set this season.

Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier played a key role in the Gamecocks’ 3-1 win over Texas A&M, recording a career-high 18 kills while hitting .571 and finishing with six block assists. When Dozier has reached double-figures in kills this season, South Carolina has a 3-1 record, with its only loss being in five sets at Clemson. On the season Dozier is averaging 2.12 kills per set and ranks third in the SEC with an average of 1.20 blocks per set.

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 1.90 kills per set while hitting .250 and is averaging 1.21 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.

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 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).

Youngest in the SEC
South Carolina is the youngest team in the SEC in terms of both underclassmen and freshman. The Gamecocks have 14 underclassmen and 10 freshmen on the roster. Mississippi State is the next closest in underclassmen with 13, while Arkansas has the second most freshmen with eight.

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 734-563 (.566) record.
• The Gamecocks are 194-222 (.466) in SEC play.
• In matches played at the Volleyball Competition Facility, South Carolina is 155-79 (.662).