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Sept. 11, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team will make its first trip out of the state this weekend as it is set to open play in the Campbell Invitational on Friday in Buies Creek, N.C.

The Gamecocks will face Campbell on Friday at 7 p.m. at Gore Arena and will take on Elon (10 a.m.) and North Florida (4:30 p.m.) on Saturday.

Friday: vs. Campbell, 7 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Video
Saturday: vs. Elon, 10 a.m., Live Stats | North Florida, 4:30 p.m., Live Stats
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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).

A Look Back at the Carolina Challenge
• The Gamecocks went 1-2 last weekend at the Carolina Challenge hosted by Winthrop, falling to Clemson 3-1 and Furman 3-2 before rebounding with a 3-0 win over Winthrop.
• Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 3.58 kills and 3.33 digs per set. She recorded a career-high 22 kills, 23 digs and five blocks against Furman.
• As a team the Gamecocks averaged 2.8 blocks per set on the weekend, reaching double figures in two of three matches.
• Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier averaged 1.75 blocks per set.

Gamecocks in the SEC and NCAA Stats
• South Carolina leads the conference and ranks eighth nationally in blocks per set (3.13).
• The Gamecocks are third in the SEC in opponent hitting percentage (.164).
• Carolina ranks fourth in the SEC in digs per set (15.48).
• Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier leads the nation in blocks per set (1.95).
• Junior setter Kellie McNeil ranks second in the SEC in service aces per set (0.55).
• Senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen is seventh in the SEC in digs per set (4.00).
• Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil ranks ninth in the conference in kills per set (3.35) and is first among freshmen. She is also eighth in the league in points per set (3.83).

Block Party
• The Gamecocks lead the SEC and are eighth nationally in blocks per set (3.13).
• Carolina has reached double figures in blocks in five of six matches with a season-high 16 vs. Jacksonville (8/30). The Gamecocks reached double-digit blocks 10 times in 31 matches last season.
• The Gamecocks are 3-1 when recording more blocks than their opponents.
• Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier leads the nation in blocks per set (1.95). She recorded a career-high 11 vs. Jacksonville (8/30) and has produced five or more blocks in five of six matches.

Taking the Reins
• With the departure of All-American outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil has filled in nicely through six matches.
• McNeil leads the team with an average of 3.35 kills per set, which ranks eighth in the SEC and first among league freshmen.
• She is also second on the team and 17th in the SEC in digs per set (2.91).
• A native of Eagan, Minn., McNeil has recorded two double-doubles, including a career-high 22 kills and 23 digs as well as five blocks vs. Furman (9/6).

Approaching a Milestone
• South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson is two wins away from reaching 100 career victories and 50 victories at the helm of the Gamecocks.
• Swanson is 98-112 in his eighth season as a head coach and 48-51 in his fourth season at South Carolina.

Scouting Campbell
• Campbell enters the weekend with a 3-5 record.
• The Camels have lost five straight matches after winning their first three.
• Campbell has five starters back from last year’s squad that went 14-17.
• Junior outside hitter Alexis Hein leads the Camels offensively, averaging 2.34 kills per set, while senior outside hitter Jessica Groen is averaging 2.30 kills per set.
• Preseason Big South All-Conference selection Mary Crema anchors the back line with an average of 4.59 digs per set.
• Senior middle blocker Lorin Thomas averages a team-best 1.00 blocks per set.

Series History vs. Campbell
• Friday’s meeting is just the second all-time between South Carolina and Campbell.
• The Gamecocks won the only previous meeting, defeating the Camels 3-1 on Sept. 7, 1991.

Scouting Elon
• Elon enters the weekend with a 3-4 record.
• The Phoenix return five starters from last year’s team that went 16-17.
• Sophomore middle blocker Ally Karle, a 2013 SoCon All-Freshman Team selection, leads the team in blocks per set (1.29) and is averaging 2.00 kills per set.
• Junior setter Ana Nicksic averages 7.77 assists per set.
• The Phoenix have five players averaging two or more kills per set, with freshman outside hitter Sydney Busa leading the way with an average of 2.25 per set.
• Defensive specialist Morgan Maner averages a team-best 2.97 digs per set.

Series History vs. Elon
• Saturday’s matchup is the second all-time between South Carolina and Elon.
• The Gamecocks won the only previous meeting 3-1 on Sept. 3, 2011.
• Paige Wheeler recorded 28 digs to lead the Gamecocks, while Taylor Bruns dished out 46 assists and added eight kills. Bethanie Thomas finished with a match-high 16 kills.
• South Carolina out-hit the Phoenix .359-.147 in the matchup.

Scouting North Florida
• North Florida is 2-5 on the season.
• The Ospreys have one common opponent with the Gamecocks as they lost to Furman 3-1 in their second match of the season. Carolina dropped a 3-2 decision to Furman.
• North Florida returns four starters and the libero from last year’s squad that went 10-20.
• Preseason Atlantic Sun Setter of the Year selection Abby Fesl averages 8.12 assists per set, while Carinne Turner is averaging 7.07 assists per set.
• Freshman outside hitter Courtney Miller has paced the Ospreys with an average of 2.59 kills per set.
• The Ospreys return their top four blockers from a year ago. Senior middle blocker Cameron McGuire is averaging a team-best 1.17 blocks per set.
• Senior libero Cari Whitmire leads the team in digs per set (3.42).

Series History vs. North Florida
• Saturday’s meeting will be the first-ever between South Carolina and North Florida.

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.

All-Time Records
• South Carolina holds a 741-570 (.565) record.
• The Gamecocks are 161-215 (.428) in SEC play.
• In matches played at the Volleyball Competition Facility, South Carolina is 159-84 (.654).

Packing the VCF
• South Carolina averaged 1,629 fans in three matches of the Gamecock Invitational.
• The Gamecocks drew 1,711 fans for their season opener versus Gardner-Webb, the second largest crowd in VCF history.
• Carolina played in front of 1,528 fans versus Jacksonville and 1,647 fans versus Georgia Tech, the fifth and third largest crowds in VCF history, respectively.