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Aug. 28, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team is set to open the 2014 season as it hosts the Gamecock Invitational Friday and Saturday at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

The Gamecocks are slated to play Gardner-Webb on Friday at 7 p.m. and both Jacksonville (1 p.m.) and Georgia Tech (7 p.m.) on Saturday. Fans will receive free admission to Friday’s match by bringing their ticket stub from Thursday’s football game against Texas A&M.

Tournament Central
Friday: vs. Gardner-Webb, 7 p.m.
Saturday: vs. Jacksonville, 1 p.m. | SEC Network+
Saturday: vs. Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. | SEC Network+
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South Carolina Quick Hits
• South Carolina is in its fourth season with head coach Scott Swanson.
• Last year’s team went 12-19.
• The Gamecocks return 13 letter winners from a year ago, including four starters and the libero (Sarah Blomgren, Kellie McNeil, Darian Dozier, Jacqy Angermiller, Mikaela Christiaansen).
• With the departure of outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, the Gamecocks lost 33.8 percent of their production in kills. She ranked first in the SEC in both kills per set (4.57) and points per set (4.91).
• South Carolina returns middle blockers Jacqy Angermiller and Darian Dozier, who ranked seventh (1.08) and eighth (1.06), respectively, in the SEC in blocks per set.
• Junior setter Kellie McNeil is back after missing the last eight matches last season with a foot injury. McNeil ranked sixth in the SEC in assists per set (10.17) and 12th in blocks per set (0.94).

Home Match Notes
• The Gamecocks will host 15 matches in 2014.
• Carolina’s record for most home matches in a season is 21 (1990).
• Under head coach Scott Swanson, the Gamecocks are 27-20 at home.

(Recent) Home Tournament History
• South Carolina has hosted a home tournament every year since 2000 except for 2001 and 2005.
• The Gamecocks are a perfect 17-0 in home tournaments during the Scott Swanson era.
• Carolina’s last loss at home in a tournament was a 3-0 setback against Lipscomb in the Gamecock Invitational on Sept. 11, 2010.

Gamecocks in Season Openers
• Since its first year in the SEC (1991), South Carolina is 19-4 in season openers, including a 10-0 mark when opening at home.
• The Gamecocks are 3-0 in season openers under Scott Swanson.

Roster Breakdown
• South Carolina has four freshmen (three true freshmen), eight sophomores, five juniors and two seniors on its roster.
• Ten states are represented on South Carolina’s roster. Four players are from South Carolina, three from Georgia, two from Texas, Florida, California and Minnesota and one from Michigan, Nevada, Maryland and Arizona.

Sister Act
• The Gamecocks have two pairs of sisters involved with the program in 2014 in freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil and junior setter Kellie McNeil and junior middle blocker Darian Dozier and graduate assistant Kristen Dozier.
• Both Taylr and Kellie McNeil were the Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year coming out of high school.
• Kristen Dozier was a standout at Ohio State (2006-09) and went on to play professionally in Spain, Israel, Puerto Rico and Germany. She was also a member of the U.S. National Team in 2013.

Coming Home
• Former Gamecock great Shonda Cole joins the coaching staff this season as volunteer assistant.
• Cole played at South Carolina from 2003-06 and became the first Gamecock to earn All-America honors, earning a spot on the AVCA Honorable Mention All-America Team in 2006.
• She had a successful professional career, playing one season in Spain, six in Puerto Rico and a half season in France.
• Cole won a league championship with Pinkin de Corozal in 2010 and was named finals MVP after leading Indias de Mayaguez to the league title in 2013.

Scouting Gardner-Webb
• Gardner-Webb is in its fourth year under head coach Leo Sayles (34-60).
• The Runnin’ Bulldogs went 15-18 last season, including a 6-8 mark to finish eighth in the Big South Conference.
• Gardner-Webb returns four starters and 10 letter winners.
• Sophomore outside hitter Brianna Starr was a 2013 Big South All-Freshman Team selection after averaging 2.38 kills per set.
• Junior setter Heather Feldman dished out 9.48 assists per set last season.
• Sophomore libero Anna Pashkova led the team in digs per set (5.33) and service aces (19) a year ago.

Series History vs. Gardner-Webb
• Friday’s meeting will be just the second all-time between the teams.
• South Carolina won the only previous meeting, defeating Gardner-Webb 3-0 on Sept. 2, 2011 in Columbia.

Last Time vs. Gardner-Webb – Sept. 2, 2011
• The Gamecocks swept the Runnin’ Bulldogs by the scores of 25-13, 25-20 and 30-28 behind 10 kills and three blocks from middle blocker Frankie Vain.
• The match was part of the Gamecock Invitational.

Scouting Jacksonville
• The Dolphins enter their first year under head coach Julie Darty.
• Darty was an assistant at South Carolina during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
• Jacksonville went 30-4 last season and 16-2 in the Atlantic Sun Conference to capture a share of regular-season title.
• The Dolphins also won the A-Sun tournament and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
• Jacksonville has nine returners from last season.
• Junior outside hitter Sammie Strausbaugh, a preseason All-Atlantic Sun selection, averaged 3.45 kills per set in 2013 while hitting .286.

Series History vs. Jacksonville
• Saturday’s meeting will be the fifth all-time between the schools.
• The Gamecocks lead the series 4-0.
• Carolina won the last meeting 3-1, defeating the Dolphins on Sept. 6, 1991.

Scouting Georgia Tech
• Georgia Tech is in its first season under head coach Michelle Collier.
• Collier served as an assistant coach at South Carolina during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
• The Jackets went 12-20 last season, including a 6-14 mark in ACC play.
• Georgia Tech is 16-9 in road season openers.
• Senior outside hitter Courtney Felinski is the leading offensive returner after averaging 2.03 kills per set last season.
• Sophomore libero London Ackermann averaged a team best 3.34 digs per set in 2013.

Series History vs. Georgia Tech
• The matchup is the fifth meeting between the programs.
• South Carolina leads the all-time series 3-1.
• The teams have split the last two meetings.

Last Time vs. Georgia Tech – Sept. 10, 1999
• South Carolina defeated Georgia Tech in the most recent matchup in five sets by the scores of 15-6, 3-15, 12-15, 16-14 and 15-11.

Gamecocks on TV
• South Carolina only had one match televised last season, its three-set loss at No. 5 Florida on Nov. 13, 2013 on ESPNU. The Gamecocks are 13-17 all-time in televised games.

All-Time Records
• South Carolina holds a 737-568 (.565) record.
• The Gamecocks are 161-215 (.428) in SEC play.
• In matches played at the Volleyball Competition Facility, South Carolina is 156-84 (.650).

Packing the VCF
• South Carolina had a record-setting year as far as attendance goes for the Volleyball Competition Facility in 2013.
• The Gamecocks drew 10 crowds of more than 1,000, 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 10 matches of 1,000 or more fans was also a VCF record, breaking the previous mark of four, which was set in the 1996 and 2012 seasons.
• South Carolina set the total attendance mark for the VCF with 15,526 fans attending 16 matches, breaking the previous record of 11,787 in 17 matches in 2012.
• The average of 970 fans per match shattered the VCF average attendance record of 765 from the 2002 season.
• South Carolina’s average attendance ranked 40th nationally and fifth in the SEC.