Oct. 11, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. — In its only match of the weekend, the South Carolina volleyball team will face Alabama on Sunday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
First serve between the Gamecocks (13-3, 3-1 SEC) and the Crimson Tide (15-4, 3-2) is set for 4 p.m. ET at Foster Auditorium. The match will be televised on the SEC Network.
South Carolina at a Glance
â€¢ The Gamecocks are 13-3 on the season and 3-1 in SEC play.
â€¢ Sunday’s win at Auburn was the program’s 750th all-time. Carolina has a 750-571 all-time record.
â€¢ The 3-1 start in SEC play is Carolina’s best start through four conference matches since going 3-1 in 2008.
â€¢ The Gamecocks have used seven different starting lineups this season.
â€¢ 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 Last Weekend
â€¢ South Carolina went 2-0 on the road last weekend, defeating Mississippi State 3-0 and holding off Auburn for a 3-2 win.
â€¢ The win at Mississippi State is the first sweep for the Gamecocks in SEC play since defeating Mississippi State 3-0 on Oct. 19, 2012.
â€¢ Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil led the way with a match-high 15 kills, six digs and three blocks vs. the Bulldogs.
â€¢ The win on Sunday was Carolina’s first at Auburn since defeating the Tigers 3-1 on Oct. 19, 2008.
â€¢ Sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams recorded her team-leading seventh double-double of the season vs. the Tigers, matching her career high with 18 kills and tallying 12 digs.
Gamecocks in the SEC and NCAA Stats
â€¢ South Carolina is first in the SEC and ranks 23rd nationally in blocks per set (2.72).
â€¢ The Gamecocks are second in the conference and 25th in the nation in total blocks (166.0)
â€¢ Carolina leads the SEC and ranks 30th nationally in opponent hitting percentage (.156).
â€¢ Carolina ranks second in the conference in digs per set (15.36).
â€¢ Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier is second in the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation in blocks per set (1.52). She leads the SEC and is 11th in the nation in total blocks (88).
â€¢ Freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil ranks fifth in the conference in kills per set (3.52) and is second among freshmen. She is also sixth in the league in points per set (3.94).
â€¢ Senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen is third in the SEC in digs per set (4.38).
â€¢ Sophomore KoKo Atoa-Williams has seven double-doubles, which is tied for the fifth most in the league.
Road Match Notes
â€¢ The Gamecocks are 4-0 in true road contests this season, a 3-0 win at Winthrop, a 3-0 win at Campbell, a 3-0 win at Mississippi State and a 3-2 win at Auburn.
â€¢ The 4-0 record is Carolina’s best start on the road since 2001. The Gamecocks won their first five road matches that season.
â€¢ The wins at Mississippi State and Auburn gave Carolina consecutive SEC road wins for the first time since winning three straight in 2008 at Arkansas (9/28), at Mississippi State (10/3) and at Alabama (10/5).
â€¢ Carolina is outhitting its opponents .234-.129 on the road.
â€¢ In road matches, freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil (3.79 kills per set), junior setter Kellie McNeil (9.21 assists per set), senior libero Mikaela Christiaansen (4.64 digs per set) and junior middle blocker Darian Dozier (1.50 blocks per set) have led the Gamecocks.
â€¢ Under head coach Scott Swanson, the Gamecocks are 13-26 on the road.
â€¢ Alabama enters the weekend at 15-4 overall and 3-2 in the SEC.
â€¢ The Crimson Tide are 8-2 in the last 10 matches.
â€¢ In matches at Foster Auditorium, Alabama is 5-0 this season and has lost just three sets.
â€¢ Alabama returns nine letter winners, including six starters, from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad that went 24-10 overall and 11-7 in SEC play.
â€¢ All three AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans are back in junior setter Sierra Wilson, sophomore outside hitter Brittany Thomas and sophomore middle blocker Krystal Rivers.
â€¢ Alabama leads the conference and ranks 12th nationally in aces per set (1.70).
â€¢ The Crimson Tide rank third in the SEC and 22nd in the nation in hitting percentage (.265)
â€¢ Alabama also leads the SEC in total aces (126), total kills (988) and total assists (902).
â€¢ Rivers is second in the conference and 23rd in the nation in kills per set (4.05) and first in the SEC and ninth nationally in aces (31). She is also second in the conference and is 11th in the nation in kills (296).
â€¢ Wilson leads the SEC and is third nationally in total assists (829). She also leads the league and is ninth in the nation in assists per set (11.36).
â€¢ Freshman outside hitter Kat Hutson is averaging 3.53 kills per set, which ranks fourth in the conference.
â€¢ Freshman middle Leah Lawrence leads the team and ranks 14th in the SEC in blocks per set (1.03).
Series History vs. Alabama
â€¢ Friday’s meeting will be the 43rd all-time between South Carolina and Alabama.
â€¢ The Crimson Tide lead the all-time series 24-18.
â€¢ South Carolina 4-6 in its last 10 meetings with Alabama.
â€¢ The Gamecocks are 6-13 all-time in matches at Mississippi State.
â€¢ Carolina’s last win in Tuscaloosa was a 3-2 victory on Nov. 16, 2012.
â€¢ Only six of 42 meetings have gone to five sets, with the winning team sweeping 23 of those matches.
â€¢ The Gamecocks are 2-3 vs. Alabama under head coach Scott Swanson.
Last Time vs. Alabama – Nov. 15, 2013
â€¢ Alabama defeated Carolina in the only meeting last season, winning in three sets by the scores of 28-26, 25-23 and 25-18.
â€¢ South Carolina finished the match with the edge in kills (45-37), assists (41-36) and blocks (6.0-5.0), while the Crimson Tide finished with an advantage in hitting percentage (.206-.117) and digs (46-43).
â€¢ Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin paced South Carolina with 18 kills and 11 digs.
â€¢ Mattie Weldy led Alabama with 11 kills.
â€¢ Blocking has been a key to the Gamecocks’ success this season as they rank second in the SEC and 23rd nationally in blocks per set 2.72.
â€¢ Junior middle blocker Darian Dozier is second in the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation in blocks per set (1.52), while sophomore middle Jacqy Angermiller ranks 16th in the league (0.96).
â€¢ South Carolina recorded 17 blocks vs. Eastern Kentucky, its most since recording 20 vs. St. Johns on Sept. 8, 2006.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Carolina has out-blocked its opponents in 13 of 16 matches. The Gamecocks are 11-2 in those matches.
â€¢ The Gamecocks have out-blocked opponents 136-82 in wins.
Winning the Hitting Battle
â€¢ When outhitting opponents, the Gamecocks are 10-0 on the season.
â€¢ Carolina is outhitting opponents .238-.137 in wins and is being outhit .229-.163 in losses.
â€¢ In conference matches, the Gamecocks are being outhit .216-.211.
â€¢ The Gamecocks have held opponents to a below a .150 hitting percentage 10 times in 16 matches.
â€¢ Carolina has won three matches when being outhit, vs. Georgia Tech (.258-.269), vs. Ole Miss (.184-.189) and vs. Auburn (.211-.221).
Taking the Reins
â€¢ With the departure of All-American outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin, freshman outside hitter Taylr McNeil has filled in nicely through 16 matches.
â€¢ McNeil leads the team with an average of 3.52 kills per set, which ranks fifth in the SEC and second among league freshmen.
â€¢ She is also third on the team in digs per set (2.13).
â€¢ 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).
â€¢ 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
â€¢ Senior libero Mikaela Chrsitiaansen has started all 16 matches at libero for the Gamecocks this season.
â€¢ She ranks third in the SEC in digs per set (4.38) and is second in conference play with 4.76 digs per set.
â€¢ A native of Tucson, Ariz., Christiaansen has reached double figures in digs in all 16 matches.
â€¢ In South Carolina’s comeback win over Ole Miss, she tallied 26 digs, her most as a Gamecock.
Looking for a Triple-Double
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Swanson is now 107-113 in his eighth season as a head coach and 57-52 in his fourth season at South Carolina. Swanson’s 57 wins are the fourth most in school history.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Carolina went 6-0 in its home tournaments. The Gamecocks are a perfect 23-0 in home tournaments during the Scott Swanson era.
â€¢ 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
â€¢ South Carolina is in its fourth season with head coach Scott Swanson. Last year’s team went 12-19.
â€¢ 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).
â€¢ With the departure of outside hitter Juliette ThÃƒÂ©venin, 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).
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ South Carolina has three freshmen, seven sophomores, five juniors and two seniors on its roster.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Both Taylr and Kellie McNeil were the Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year coming out of high school.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Former Gamecock great Shonda Cole joins the coaching staff this season as volunteer assistant.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ She had a successful professional career, playing one season in Spain, six in Puerto Rico and a half season in France.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ South Carolina holds a 750-571 (.568) record.
â€¢ The Gamecocks are 164-216 (.432) in SEC play.
â€¢ In matches played at the Carolina Volleyball Center, South Carolina is 163-85 (.657).