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Nov. 12, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team will face one of its toughest tests of the season as it is set to take on No. 5 Florida on Wednesday at the O’Connell Center.

First serve is set for 6 p.m., and the match will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

Wednesday: at No. 5 Florida, 6 p.m. |
On Twitter: @GamecockVolley
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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 fell in both of their SEC matches over the weekend, dropping three-set decisions at No. 20 Kentucky and at Georgia. With the losses, the Gamecocks are now 12-13 overall and 3-9 in the SEC. Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier led the way at Kentucky, posting six kills while hitting .417 and three blocks. Freshman middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller added five kills and two solo blocks. Making her first start, freshman setter Helen Récaborde distributed 22 assists and had one kill. At Georgia sophomore Sarah Blomgren paced the Gamecocks with 10 kills, while Dozier added seven kills and two blocks. Récaborde dished out a career-high 23 assists and had five digs.

Scouting No. 5 Florida
The Gators have consistently been one of the top teams in the country and they enter Wednesday’s matchup second in the SEC standings with an 11-1 mark in the conference and a 22-2 overall record. Florida has won four-straight matches since losing to undefeated Missouri on Oct. 20. The Gators are in the top three in the SEC in five of the seven statistical categories, ranking second in hitting (.330), first in opponent hitting percentage (.158), second in assists (13.76), second in kills (15.10) and second and service aces (1.65). Florida ranks in the top 10 nationally in hitting (second), kills (fourth), match win-loss percentage (fifth) and assists (seventh). The Gators return three 2012 first-team All-SEC selections led by reigning SEC Player of the Year Chloe Mann. The senior middle blocker leads the nation with a hitting percentage of .514. She also ranks seventh in the SEC in kills (3.44) and eighth in points per set (3.41). Sophomore outside hitter Ziva Recek has also been a force offensively, averaging 3.41 kills per set. Senior All-SEC setter Taylor Brauneis makes the offense go as she averages 11.59 assists per set, which ranks third in the SEC. Florida has the top two servers in terms of service aces in the conference, as junior defensive specialist Taylor Unroe leads the league with an average of 0.39 service aces per set and Brauneis ranks second (0.38). Defensively, Unroe leads the team with an average of 4.14 digs per set, while sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi has been the squads top blocker, averaging 1.01 blocks per set.

Series History vs. Florida
Wednesday’s match will be the 56th all-time meeting between South Carolina and Florida. The Gators lead the series 48-7 and have won 13-straight meetings. South Carolina’s last win over Florida was a 3-1 victory over the sixth-ranked Gators in Columbia on Sept. 17, 2006. It was the Gamecocks’ last win over a ranked team. South Carolina has not won in Gainesville since defeating Florida in three sets on Oct. 18, 1986. The Gamecocks are 2-24 all-time in Gainesville.

Last Time vs. Florida – Nov. 18, 2012
The Gamecocks lost to the Gators by the scores of 25-19, 25-14 and 25-19 in last year’s matchup in Gainesville. Juliette Thévenin led the way with 14 kills with a .343 hitting percentage and five digs. Ziva Recek paced the Gators with 17 kills and 10 digs, while Chloe Mann contributed 12 kills while hitting .524.

Gamecocks on TV
South Carolina is 13-16 when playing in front of a television audience. The Gamecocks have lost four-straight TV matches with their last win being a three-set victory at home over Alabama on SportSouth on Nov. 6, 2011. Wednesday’s match will be the Gamecocks’ fourth appearance on ESPNU. South Carolina is 0-3 all-time on ESPNU, with all three matches being against Florida. Below is a full listing of South Carolina’s TV appearances.

Date    Opponent        Network     Result10/11/98    Auburn          SEC TV      W, 3-011/12/99    at Tennessee        SEC TV      W, 3-19/24/00     at Arkansas     CSS     W, 3-110/13/00    at Alabama      CSS     W, 3-010/15/00    at Auburn       SEC TV      W, 3-011/4/01     No. 9 Florida       SEC TV      L, 2-311/15/02    at No. 4 Florida    SEC TV      L, 0-310/26/03    at No. 3 Florida    Sunshine    L, 0-311/14/03    No. 3 Florida       SEC TV      L, 0-39/19/04     Notre Dame      CSTV        W, 3-211/7/04     Arkansas        SEC TV      W, 3-09/17/06     No. 6 Florida       Sun Sports  W, 3-110/8/06     at Kentucky     WKYT        L, 0-310/15/06    Mississippi State   SEC TV      L, 2-311/12/06    Tennessee       CSS     W, 3-110/10/07    at No. 5 Florida    Sun Sports  L, 0-311/19/07    Alabama             SEC TV      W, 3-09/12/08     Clemson         SC ETV      W, 3-210/15/08    at No. 8 Florida    Sun Sports  L, 0-311/16/08    at Tennessee        SEC TV      L, 2-39/27/09     Mississippi State   FS South    W, 3-010/7/09     No. 6 Florida       ESPNU       L, 1-39/19/10     at No. 22 Kentucky  Big Blue TV L, 1-310/10/10    at Alabama      FS South    L, 0-310/27/10    at No. 1 Florida    ESPNU       L, 0-310/19/11    No. 13 Florida      ESPNU       L, 0-311/4/11     Mississippi     SportSouth  L, 0-311/6/11     Alabama             SportSouth  W, 3-010/5/12     Texas A&M       SportSouth  L, 0-310/21/12    at Mississippi      CSS     L, 0-311/2/12     at Missouri     FS Midwest  L, 0-311/18/12    at No. 16 Florida   Sun Sports  L, 0-3

Schedule Strengthens Down the Stretch
The Gamecocks will have one of the toughest Novembers of any team in the SEC. All eight teams on South Carolina’s schedule this month are in the latest RPI top 50. Florida comes in at No. 4, followed by No. 6 Missouri, No. 9 Kentucky, No. 27 LSU, No. 31 Georgia, No. 34 Alabama, No. 36 Arkansas and No. 46 Texas A&M.

Gamecocks Look to Improve vs. Ranked Opponents
The Gamecocks are 8-97 against ranked opponents since 1991. South Carolina’s last win over a ranked foe was a 3-1 win over No. 6 Florida on Sept. 17, 2006 in Columbia. The Gamecocks have never defeated a ranked SEC opponent on the road. South Carolina’s only road win over a ranked opponent during that time span was a 3-1 victory at No. 14 Notre Dame on Sept. 14, 2003 in the Shamrock Invitational.

Gamecocks in the SEC Stats
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin has been a force for the Garnet and Black this season as she currently leads the SEC in both kills (4.86) and points (5.20) per set. In SEC matches only, Thévenin ranks first in kills (4.69) and first in points (5.06). Freshman middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller is one of three Gamecocks ranked in the top 20 in blocks as she ranks fourth with an average of 1.19 per set. Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier ranks sixth (1.16), and sophomore setter Kellie McNeil is 15th (0.94). McNeil is also sixth in the SEC in assists per set (10.17), while junior libero Michaela Christiaansen is seventh in digs per set (3.87).

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 10 in the nation in two categories, ranking fourth in kills per set (4.86) and ninth in points per set (5.20).

Reaching a Milestone
In South Carolina’s match against Auburn (10/27), senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin recorded her 1,500th career kill. Thévenin, who reached the milestone with her eighth kill of the match in the second set, ranks third all-time at South Carolina with 1,532 kills.

Closing in on the 1,000-1,000 Club
Senior Juliette Thévenin is close to reaching another milestone. Entering Wednesday’s match, she has 1,532 kills and 972 digs for her career. With 28 digs over the final six matches, Thévenin would become just the second Gamecock of record to reach 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career. Amy Iannoccari is the only Gamecock to do so as she recorded 1,231 kills and 1,196 digs for South Carolina from 1991-94.

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 five in five career categories, ranking third in kills (1,532), second in kills per set (4.11), second in attacks (3,902), fourth in points (1,680.5) and third in points per set (4.50). On the season she is averaging a league-best 4.86 kills and 5.20 points per set. For a complete list of career records see page 11.

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 1,532, trailing only Missouri’s Lisa Henning (1,691). She is ninth in career kills and eighth kills per set (4.11) among active Division I players. Her career average ranks 14th among all divisions, while her career kills total is 20th among all divisions.

Huge Loss
The Gamecocks were without the services of sophomore Kellie McNeil (foot) over the weekend. McNeil has been one of South Carolina’s most versatile players. A transfer from Minnesota, she was averaging 10.17 assists, 1.96 digs and 0.94 blocks per set this season. McNeil’s blocks per set average is on pace to be the best in school history of record for a setter. She is currently just ahead of former Gamecock Shellie Higgins’ average of 0.92 from the 1983 season.

Making Their First Starts
Freshman setter Helen Récaborde and freshman outside hitter KoKo Atoa-Williams made their first career start for the Gamecocks over the weekend. Both Récaborde and Atoa-Williams started for South Carolina in Friday’s match at No. 20 Kentucky. Récaborde also started Sunday’s match at Georgia.

Winning the Hitting Battle
When South Carolina out-hits its opponents, it is 11-1 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 .267 in wins this season and .186 in losses. Opponents are hitting .145 in Gamecock wins and .281 in Gamecock losses.

Reaching .300
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.

Getting Served
The Gamecocks are a perfect 6-0 when recording more service aces than their opponents. South Carolina averages 0.9 service aces per set in wins and 0.6 in losses.

Block Party
South Carolina is 10-4 when it finishes with more blocks than its opponent. The Gamecocks out-block the opposition 2.7-1.7 per set in wins and are getting out-blocked 2.2-2.1 in losses.

Seeing Double
Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin leads the team with seven double-doubles this season. Thévenin has 39 double-doubles for her career, which ranks fourth all-time at South Carolina in records available since 1993.

Sophomore Darian Dozier has been a force in the middle for South Carolina. She 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. On the season Dozier is averaging 2.10 kills per set and ranks sixth in the SEC with an average of 1.16 blocks per set. She also leads the team in hitting with a percentage of .315, which ranks 15th in the SEC. In Gamecock wins, Dozier has hit a team-best .384.

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 1.68 kills per set and 1.19 blocks per set, which ranks fourth in the SEC.

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.

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 nine crowds of more than 1,000 this season, which included a VCF-record stretch of seven straight, with the Arkansas (1,405) and Texas A&M (1,430) matches being the high marks. The nine 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. South Carolina has already set the new total attendance mark for the VCF with 13,015 fans attending 13 matches this season, breaking the previous record of 11,787 in 17 matches in 2012. The average of 1,001 fans per match is also on pace to shatter the VCF average attendance record of 765 from the 2002 season. South Carolina’s average attendance ranks 36th nationally and fifth in the SEC.

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.

All-Time Records
• South Carolina holds a 736-568 (.564) record.
• The Gamecocks are 195-227 (.462) in SEC play.
• In matches played at the Volleyball Competition Facility, South Carolina is 156-81 (.658).