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Oct. 2, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team will play its first road SEC matches of the season this weekend at Mississippi State and Auburn.

The Gamecocks (11-3, 1-1 SEC) will take on the Bulldogs (5-12, 0-2) on Friday at 8 p.m. ET at the Newell-Grissom Building in Starkville, Miss. Carolina will close out the weekend against the Tigers (9-7, 1-2) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET at Auburn Arena.

Friday: at Mississippi State, 8 p.m. ET | SEC Network+ | Live Stats
Sunday: at Auburn, 2:30 p.m. ET |
On Twitter: @GamecockVolley
Weekend NotesGet Acrobat Reader

South Carolina at a Glance
• The Gamecocks are 11-3 on the season and 1-1 in SEC play.
• Carolina’s eight-match winning streak was snapped with a loss to Kentucky (9/28).
• When outhitting opponents, the Gamecocks are 9-0 on the season. Carolina is outhitting opponents .241-.127 in wins and is being outhit .229-.163 in losses.
• The Gamecocks have used six different starting lineups this season.
• Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier, sophomore outside hitter KoKo Atoa-Williams and freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil have started every match, while senior Mikaela Christiaansen has been libero all 14 matches.

A Look Back at Opening SEC Play
• South Carolina went 1-1 to open SEC play last weekend, defeating Ole Miss 3-2 and losing to No. 14 Kentucky 3-1.
• The Gamecocks came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Rebels, the first time a Carolina team has lost the first two sets and came back to win since rallying from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Alabama on Nov. 13, 2005.
• Junior setter Kellie McNeil fell one dig shy of a triple-double vs. Ole Miss, with 38 assists, a career-high 10 kills (.667), nine digs and six blocks.
• Carolina came up short of forcing a fifth set vs. the 14th-ranked Wildcats. The Gamecocks led 19-16 in the fourth set before Kentucky used a 9-2 run to secure the win.
• Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil paced the Gamecocks with 13 kills while hitting .312.

Gamecocks in the SEC and NCAA Stats
• South Carolina is second in the SEC and ranks 21st nationally in blocks per set (2.75).
• The Gamecocks lead the SEC in opponent hitting percentage (.152).
• Carolina ranks second in the conference in digs per set (15.43).
• Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier is second in the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation in blocks per set (1.56).
• Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil ranks fourth in the conference in kills per set (3.60) and is first among freshmen. She is also fifth in the league in points per set (4.02).
• Senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen is third in the SEC in digs per set (4.42) and leads the league in conference play with 5.33 digs per set.
• Sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams has six double-doubles, the sixth most in the league.

Road Match Notes
• The Gamecocks are 2-0 in true road contests this season, a 3-0 win at Winthrop and a 3-0 win at Campbell.
• Carolina is outhitting its opponents .248-.064 on the road.
• In road matches, freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil (4.83 kills per set), junior setter Kellie McNeil (9.17 assists per set), senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen (5.33 digs per set) and junior middle blocker Darian Dozier (1.83 blocks per set) have led the Gamecocks.
• Under head coach Scott Swanson, the Gamecocks are 11-26 on the road.

Scouting Mississippi State
• The Bulldogs enter Friday’s matchup with a 5-12 overall record and a 0-2 mark in SEC play.
• Mississippi State has lost seven of its last 10 matches, including four straight. The Bulldogs are 3-5 at home.
• Six letter winners are back from last year’s squad, while the Bulldogs have 11 newcomers.
• The Bulldogs lead the conference and rank 13th in the nation in digs per set (17.27).
• Freshman libero Payton Harris leads the nation in digs per set (6.90). She set a school and SEC record with 59 digs vs. Northwestern State (9/13).
• Junior middle blocker Alex Warren and sophomore middle Chelsea Duhs have been the Bulldogs top two offensive weapons, averaging 2.70 and 2.45 kills per set, respectively.
• Setters Katlyn Mataya and Shelby Anderton are averaging 4.59 and 4.46 assists per set, respectively.
• Defensively, junior middle blocker Emily Howard leads the team in blocks per set (0.78).

Series History vs. Mississippi State
• Friday’s meeting will be the 40th all-time between South Carolina and Mississippi State.
• The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 28-11.
• South Carolina is 7-3 vs. the Bulldogs in the last 10 meetings.
• The Gamecocks are 8-7 all-time in matches at Mississippi State.
• Carolina’s last win in Starkville was a 3-0 victory on Oct. 19, 2012.
• Only six of 39 meetings have gone past four sets, with the winning team sweeping 22 of those matches.

Last Time vs. Mississippi State – Oct. 18, 2013
• The Bulldogs defeated the Gamecocks in their only matchup last season by the scores of 28-26, 25-18 and 25-20.
• Mississippi State outhit Carolina .336-.261. Kimmy Gardiner (12 kills, 10 digs) and Taylor Scott (14 kills, 11 digs) both had double-doubles for the Bulldogs.
• Juliette Thévenin paced Carolina with 18 kills (.400) and nine digs.

Scouting Auburn
• Auburn enters the weekend at 9-7 overall and 1-2 in SEC play.
• Auburn ranks third in the SEC in digs (15.36).
• Junior Alyssa Ivey ranks fourth in the league in digs per set (4.04).
• Freshman outside hitter Courtney Crable has been the team’s top attacker, averaging 2.75 kills per set.
• Macy Reece (2.49), Stephanie Campbell (2.43) and Emily Klitzke (2.25) also average more than two kills per set.
• The Tigers have turned to freshman Alexa Filley as the team’s setter. Filley ranks seventh in the SEC in assists per set (9.81).
• Sophomore middle blocker Breanna Barksdale leads the team in blocks per set (0.93).

Series History vs. Auburn
• Sunday’s meeting will be the 36th all-time.
• Carolina leads the all-time series 21-14.
• Auburn has won seven of the last 10 meetings, including three straight.
• The Gamecocks are 10-6 all-time in matches at Auburn but have lost their last four matches there.
• Carolina has not won at Auburn since defeating the Tigers 3-1 on Oct. 19, 2008.

Last Time vs. Auburn – Oct. 27, 2013
• In the team’s only meeting last season, Auburn defeated South Carolina by the scores of 25-22, 25-22 and 25-23.
• Carolina outside hitter Juliette Thévenin recorded 15 kills to lead the Gamecocks as she surpassed 1,500 kills for her career.
• Katherine Culwell paced the Tigers with a double-double, finishing with 12 kills and 12 digs.

Block Party
• Blocking has been a key to the Gamecocks’ success this season as they rank second in the SEC and 21st nationally in blocks per set 2.75.
• Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier is second in the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation in blocks per set (1.56), while sophomore middle Jacqy Angermiller ranks 15th in the league (1.00).
• South Carolina recorded 17 blocks vs. Eastern Kentucky, its most since recording 20 vs. St. Johns on Sept. 8, 2006.
• Angermiller tallied a career-high 11 blocks (all block assists) vs. Eastern Kentucky, which is tied for the second most block assists in a five-set match in school history and the fourth most total blocks in a five-set match.
• Carolina has out-blocked its opponents in 11 of 14 matches. The Gamecocks are 9-2 in those matches.
• The Gamecocks have out-blocked opponents 116-69 in wins.

Taking the Reins
• With the departure of All-American outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil has filled in nicely through 14 matches.
• McNeil leads the team with an average of 3.60 kills per set, which ranks fourth in the SEC and first among league freshmen.
• She is also second on the team in digs per set (2.25).
• 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).
• She is the only player in the SEC to currently have a double-double with more than 20 kills and 20 digs and is the first Gamecock to do so since Crystal Moore recorded 20 kills and 21 digs vs. Michigan on Sept. 17, 1999.

Anchoring the Back Line
• Senior libero Mikaela Chrsitiaansen has started all 14 matches at libero for the Gamecocks this season.
• She ranks third in the SEC in digs per set (4.42) and leads the league in conference play with 5.33 digs per set.
• A native of Tucson, Ariz., Christiaansen has reached double figures in digs in all 14 matches.
• In South Carolina’s comeback win over Ole Miss, she tallied 26 digs, her most as a Gamecock.

Almost a Triple-Double
• Junior setter Kellie McNeil finished one dig shy of a triple-double in the Gamecocks’ comeback win over Ole Miss as she recorded 38 assists, a career-high 10 kills (.667), nine digs and six blocks.
• She would have been the first Gamecock since Iris Santos to record a triple-double. Santos had 12 kills, 57 assists and 13 digs vs. Houston on Sept. 16, 2005.
• It’s the second time in McNeil’s career that she finished just shy of a triple-double as she had 41 assists, 20 digs and seven blocks at Tennessee on Sept. 29, 2013.

Reaching a Milestone
• With a win over Elon at the Campbell Invitational on Sept. 13, South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson recorded his 100th career victory and his 50th win at South Carolina.
• Swanson is now 105-113 in his eighth season as a head coach and 55-52 in his fourth season at South Carolina. Swanson’s 55 wins are the fifth most in school history.

Tournament Success
• South Carolina won three of its four tournaments this season, claiming titles at the Gamecock Invitational, Campbell Invitational and Carolina Classic with 3-0 records.
• Carolina went 6-0 in its home tournaments. The Gamecocks are a perfect 23-0 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.

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.

Roster Breakdown
• South Carolina has three freshmen, seven sophomores, five juniors and two seniors on its roster.
• Nine states are represented on South Carolina’s roster. Four players are from South Carolina, two from Georgia, Texas, Florida, California and Minnesota and one from 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 748-571 (.567) record.
• The Gamecocks are 162-216 (.429) in SEC play.
• In matches played at the Carolina Volleyball Center, South Carolina is 163-85 (.657).