Oct. 24, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team returns home this weekend for a pair of SEC matches at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
The Gamecocks are set to host Tennessee on Friday at 7 p.m. in its annual Dig Pink match. It marks the seventh-straight year South Carolina has hosted a breast-cancer awareness match. The Gamecocks will close out the weekend in a matchup with Auburn on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
South Carolina Quick Hits
â€¢ South Carolina enters its third season with head coach Scott Swanson.
â€¢ Last year’s team went 18-14, the program’s second winning season in the last decade and the most wins since 2008 (21).
â€¢ The Gamecocks return five letterwinners from a year ago, including two starters (senior Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin, sophomore Darian Dozier).
â€¢ 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).
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ South Carolina returns its leader in kills (Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin, 453) and its second-leading blocker (Darian Dozier, 67).
Last Time Out
The Gamecocks went 1-1 in SEC play last weekend, dropping a three-set decision at Mississippi State and knocking off Ole Miss in four sets in Oxford. With the weekend split, South Carolina is now 11-9 on the season and 3-5 in SEC play. Senior outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin had a stellar weekend to lead the way, averaging 6.14 kills per set while hitting .306. ThÃƒÂ©venin recorded a match-high 25 kills in Sunday’s win at Ole Miss. As a team the Gamecocks hit .308 against the Rebels. South Carolina is now 6-0 on the season when hitting better than .300. Sophomore Sarah Blomgren contributed 12 kills while hitting .455 against Ole Miss, while sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier recorded nine kills, hitting .600 with no errors. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil also had a solid weekend, averaging 1.43 kills, 9.57 assists, 1.57 digs and 1.14 blocks per set on the weekend.
Joining the Fight – Dig Pink
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and South Carolina is teaming with the Side-Out Foundation to host a Dig Pink match when it faces Tennessee on Friday. The Gamecocks are looking to increase breast cancer awareness and fundraise to support further research to combat this disease. This is the seventh-straight year South Carolina has hosted a breast-cancer awareness match. For more information on this year’s match, click HERE.
The Lady Vols head into Friday’s matchup with an 8-13 overall record and a 0-7 mark in SEC play. Tennessee has lost seven straight matches and nine out of its last 10. Freshman outside hitter Jamie Lea continues to pace Tennessee’s attack, averaging 3.38 kills per set. Sophomore outside hitter Ashley Mariani (2.63) and senior outside hitter Whitney Heeres (2.24) have also made big contributions, averaging more than two kills per set. Sophomore setter Lexi Dempsey has distributed a team-best 9.38 assists per set. Defensively, the Lady Vols rank second nationally in digs, averaging 18.88 per set. Senior libero Ellen Mullins has anchored the back line as she leads the SEC and ranks second in the nation with an average of 6.07 digs per set. Freshman middle blocker Raina Hembry averages 0.95 blocks per set to lead the team.
Series History vs. Tennessee
Friday’s matchup will be the 60th meeting all-time between South Carolina and Tennessee. The Lady Vols lead the all-time series 33-26. Tennessee has won nine out of the last 10 in the series, with South Carolina’s win coming this season in Knoxville. South Carolina hasn’t won back-to-back matches against Tennessee since defeating the Lady Vols in the last meeting of the 2006 season (11/12/2006) and the first matchup of the 2007 season (10/5/2007). The Gamecocks haven’t swept the season series since winning both matchups during the 2002 season. South Carolina is 14-10 all-time at home against Tennessee.
Last Time vs. Tennessee – Sept. 29, 2013
South Carolina claimed a 3-1 win at Tennessee in September, winning by the scores of 25-18, 17-25, 25-20 and 25-23. The win was the Gamecocks’ first over Tennessee since Oct. 10, 2008 and their first in Knoxville since Nov. 8, 2002. Blocking played a huge role in the win, as South Carolina out-blocked the Lady Vols 13-8, including seven in the four set. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil (41 assists, 20 digs) and senior outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin (23 kills, 16 digs) led the way with double-doubles.
Auburn heads into the weekend with a 12-7 overall record and a 3-4 mark in conference play. The Tigers are riding a three-match winning streak. Senior outside hitter Katherine Culwell and senior middle blocker Camila Jersonsky have led Auburn offensively, averaging 3.26 and 2.67 kills per set, respectively. Both Culwell (sixth) and Jersonsky (eighth) rank in the top 10 on the SEC active career kills list. Senior setter Chelsea Wintzinger averages a team-best 5.94 assists per set, while sophomore setters Alyssa Ivey and Ciara Richards are averaging 4.70 and 4.34 assists per set, respectively. Reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week Sarah Wroblicky has been key to the Tigers’ defensive efforts. The senior libero averages 4.50 digs per set, which ranks third in the SEC. Jersonsky has been Auburn’s top blocker, averaging 0.94 blocks per set.
Series History vs. Auburn
South Carolina and Auburn will meet for the 35th time on Sunday. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 21-13. The Tigers have won two straight in the series and six of the last 10 meetings. South Carolina is 10-7 all-time at home when facing Auburn.
Last Time vs. Auburn – Oct. 26, 2012
The Gamecocks dropped a three-set decision to the Tigers on Oct. 26, 2012 at the Volleyball Competition Facility. The Tigers won by the scores of 25-21, 25-15 and 25-19. Darian Dozier led the way with a then-career-high 12 kills, while Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin added 10 kills in the setback. The Tigers out-hit the Gamecocks .474-.228 for the match.
Gamecocks in the SEC Stats
Senior outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin has had a stellar start to her final year in Garnet and Black as she currently leads the SEC in both kills (4.95) and points (5.29) per set. In SEC matches only, ThÃƒÂ©venin ranks first in kills (4.90) and first in points (5.26). Freshman middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller entered the rankings this week as she ranks fourth in blocks per set (1.22). Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier is right behind Angermiller, ranking fifth in the conference in blocks with an average of 1.18 per frame. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil is seventh in the SEC in assists per set (10.25) and 16th in blocks (0.90), while junior libero Michaela Christiaansen is seventh in digs per set (3.96).
And in the NCAA Stats
One Gamecock ranks in the top 50 nationally in the latest NCAA statistics report. Senior Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin is in the top 15 in the nation in two categories, ranking fifth in kills per set (4.95) and 11th in points per set (5.29). Freshman Jacqy Angermiller sits just outside the top 50 in blocks, averaging 1.22 per set.
Leaving Her Mark
Senior outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin 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 (1,485), second in kills per set (4.10), third in attacks (3,784), sixth in points (1,629.5) and third in points per set (4.50). On the season she is averaging a league-best 4.95 kills and 5.29 points per set. For a complete list of career records see page 10.
Among the Active Leaders
Senior outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin is among the active career leaders in kills in the SEC and nationally. She ranks second in the SEC with 1,485, trailing only Missouri’s Lisa Henning (1,616). She is eighth in career kills (1,485) and kills per set (4.10) among active Division I players. Her career average ranks 14th among all divisions, while her career kills total is 17th 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 10-1 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 .276 in wins this season and .210 in losses. Opponents are hitting .139 in Gamecock wins and .275 in Gamecock losses.
The magic hitting number for the Gamecocks this season has been .300. South Carolina is 6-0 on the year when hitting .300 or better.
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.
South Carolina is 9-4 when it finishes with more blocks than its opponent. The Gamecocks out-block the opposition 2.6-1.6 per set in wins and are even at 2.2-2.2 in losses.
Senior Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin and sophomore setter Kellie McNeil lead the team in double-doubles, with five and four, respectively. The Gamecocks are 4-2 in matches ThÃƒÂ©venin 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 10.25 assists, 1.93 digs and 0.90 blocks per set this season. McNeil’s blocks per set average is on pace to be the second best in school history of record for a setter. She trails setter Shellie Higgins’ average of 0.92 in 1983.
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 2.10 kills per set and ranks fifth in the SEC with an average of 1.18 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 1.78 kills per set and 1.22 blocks per set, which ranks fourth in the SEC.
ThÃƒÂ©venin Garners SEC Honor
Senior outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 23. ThÃƒÂ©venin earned the award for the third time in her career after leading the Gamecocks to three wins to claim the Carolina Classic title. ThÃƒÂ©venin, 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.
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.
The Gamecocks played in four preseason tournaments this season and have been well represented during the tournament awards ceremonies. Senior Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin was named MVP of the Gamecock Invitational and the Carolina Classic. Sophomore Kellie McNeil earned a spot on the Gamecock Invitational All-Tournament Team. ThÃƒÂ©venin 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.
ThÃƒÂ©venin Named Preseason All-SEC
Senior outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin was named to the Preseason All-SEC squad. ThÃƒÂ©venin, 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.
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.
â€¢ South Carolina holds a 735-564 (.566) record.
â€¢ The Gamecocks are 195-223 (.467) in SEC play.
â€¢ In matches played at the Volleyball Competition Facility, South Carolina is 155-79 (.662).