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Sept. 3, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina volleyball team will go on the road for the first time in 2015 this weekend as it is set to play in Furman’s Carolina Classic on Friday and Saturday in Greenville, S.C.

The Gamecocks will take on rival Clemson on Friday at 4 p.m. and will close out the weekend against Winthrop (12:30 p.m.) and Furman (7 p.m.) on Saturday at Alley Gym.

Friday: vs. Clemson, 4 p.m. | Live Stats
Saturday: vs. Winthrop, 12:30 p.m. | Live Stats
Saturday: vs. Furman, 7 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Video
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Tournament NotesGet Acrobat Reader

South Carolina at a Glance
– South Carolina enters its fifth season under the direction of head coach Scott Swanson.
– The Gamecocks went 17-14 overall and 7-11 in the SEC in 2014.
– The seven SEC wins are Carolina’s most during the Swanson era and the most since going 12-8 in 2008.
– The Gamecocks return 10 letter winners from a year ago, including five players who started 10 or more matches (Koko Atoa-Williams, Darian Dozier, Sarah Blomgren, Jacqy Angermiller, Megan Kirkland).
– The Gamecocks’ roster is made up of eight freshmen (seven true freshmen), eight juniors, and three seniors.
– A total of nine states – California (2), Florida (3), Georgia (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (1), North Carolina (1), South Carolina (2) and Texas (5) – and Puerto Rico (1) are represented on the Gamecock roster.

Look Who’s Back
– The Gamecocks return 67.7 percent (986) of their kills from last season. Junior outside hitter Koko Atoa-Williams ranked second on the squad with 304 kills in 2014, averaging 2.51 per set.
– With the departure of setters Kellie McNeil and Allie Monserez, the Gamecocks only return 5.1 percent (70) of their assists from 2014. True freshman Aubrey Ezell will be counted on to fill that role in 2015.
– Carolina returns 41.8 percent (766) of its digs from last season. Atoa-Williams is the leading returner as she tallied 283 digs in 2014, averaging 2.34 per set.
– The Gamecocks return 71.5 percent (369) of their blocks from 2014. Senior middle blocker Darian Dozier will lead the way after setting a rally scoring era school record last season with 141 total blocks.

A Look Back at the Gamecock Invitational
– The Gamecocks went 2-1 to open the season last weekend, sweeping Southeastern Louisiana and NC Central before losing to NC State in three sets.
– Junior outside hitter Dessaa Legros was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging a tournament-best 4.22 kills per set.
– Freshman setter Aubrey Ezell recorded a pair of double-doubles on the weekend and averaged 9.56 assists and 3.44 digs per set.
– Junior libero Joely Cabrera averaged 4.22 digs per set.
– The Gamecocks played in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 fans all three matches. A total of 1,554 fans packed the CVC for the NC State match, the ninth largest crowd in CVC history.
– The loss to NC State was Carolina’s first in home tournament play since a 3-0 setback against Lipscomb on Sept. 11, 2010.

Gamecocks in the SEC Stats
– As a team, the Gamecocks are tied for third in the SEC in service aces with an average of 1.67 per set.
– Senior middle blocker Darian Dozier ranks seventh in the league in hitting percentage (.387).
– Junior outside hitter Dessaa Legros is fourth in the SEC in kills per set (4.22).
– Junior libero Joely Cabrera ranks fourth in the conference in digs per set (4.22).
– Freshman setter Aubrey Ezell is one of 11 SEC players to have recorded two or more double-doubles on opening weekend as she had 30 assists and 13 digs against Southeastern Louisiana and 33 assists and 11 digs against NC Central.

Records Watch
– Senior middle blocker Darian Dozier looks to continue climbing the school’s career records list for block assists and total blocks. Dozier currently ranks eighth all-time in block assists (298) and is tied for ninth in total blocks (328), tying Sam Alban (1999-02).

Serving Tough
– Carolina recorded 15 service aces during the Gamecock Invitational, which is the most for the Gamecocks through three matches since recording 15 in the first three contests of the 2009 season.
– Freshman setter Aubrey Ezell led the way with four on the weekend, including three against Southeastern Louisiana, while junior defensive specialist Megan Kirkland contributed three aces.

Scouting Clemson
– The Tigers went 18-14 overall in 2014, including a 6-12 mark in ACC play.
– Clemson enters the weekend with a 1-2 record this season, with a win over Charleston Southern (3-1) and losses to UNC Wilmington (3-0) and Appalachian State (3-0).
– Head coach Hugh Hernesman is in his first season with the Tigers. He led Northwestern State to the NCAA Tournament last season.
– Clemson returns three starters from a year ago – senior libero Lou Davis, junior outside hitter Leah Perri and sophomore setter Kate Federico.
– Perrie leads the squad with 3.70 kills per set, while freshman outside hitter Kailey Harvell (3.10) and junior outside hitter Irem Bayramoglu (3.00) are both averaging three or more kills per set.
– Federico, a 2014 ACC All-Freshman Team honoree, is averaging 9.80 assists and 2.20 digs per set.
– Senior libero Keelie Arneson is averaging an ACC-best 5.25 digs per set.
– Opponents are out-hitting Clemson .242-.172 this season and have out-blocked the Tigers 23-16.

Series History vs. Clemson
– Friday’s matchup will be the 61st all-time between the Tigers and Gamecocks.
– Carolina leads the all-time series 36-24.
– The teams have split the last 10 meetings. Clemson has won four of the last five matchups.
– The Gamecocks are 4-8 all-time in neutral site matches against the Tigers.
– Clemson won last year’s matchup 3-1 on Sept. 5 at the Carolina Challenge at Winthrop by the scores of 14-25, 25-16, 25-17 and 25-16.

Scouting Winthrop
– The Eagles went 20-12 overall and 9-5 in the Big South in 2014. It was Winthrop’s first 20-win season since 2011.
– Winthrop enters the tournament with a 0-4 record, after taking losses to North Texas (3-2), Missouri (3-0), North Dakota State (3-1) and USC Upstate (3-1).
– The Eagles return four starters and the libero from last year’s squad.
– Senior middle blocker Rachel Lenz, a preseason All-Big South selection, is averaging 1.94 kills and 0.81 blocks per set.
– Freshman outside hitter Lourdes Rosario is averaging a team-best 3.53 kills per set.
– Junior middle Emma Weakland and junior outside hitter Annelies Dokter are averaging 2.38 kills per set.
– Junior libero returns to anchor the back line and is averaging 3.75 digs per set.
– The Eagles have turned to freshman Madilyn McCarty at setter. McCarty is averaging 9.88 assists and 2.56 digs per set.
– Winthrop is being out-hit .262-.228 by its opponents.

Series History vs. Winthrop
– Saturday’s matchup will be the 26th all-time between the Gamecocks and Eagles.
– The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 20-15.
– Carolina has won eight of the last 10 matchups with Winthrop.
– The Gamecocks won last year’s meeting 3-0 at Winthrop’s Carolina Challenge by the scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-22.

Scouting Furman
– Furman went 23-7 in 2014, including a 14-2 SoCon to win the league regular-season title.
– The Paladins enter the weekend with a 1-2 record, with a win over Western Michigan (3-1) and losses to Missouri State (3-0) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-2).
– The Paladins return 10 letter winners, including three starters and the libero from a year ago.
– Senior setter Jo Wilks, junior outside hitter Annie Bierman and sophomore libero Meg DeMaar earned preseason All-SoCon honors.
– Wilks is averaging 10.92 assists and 1.92 digs per set.
– Bierman leads the team with an average of 4.92 kills per set.
– Demaar is averaging a team-best 3.17 digs per set.
– The Paladins are out-hitting opponents .278-.275.
– Furman has given up 24 service aces at an average of 2.0 per set this season.

Series History vs. Furman
– Saturday’s matchup will be the seventh all-time between Carolina and Furman.
– The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 4-2. Furman has won the last two meetings.
– This weekend is Carolina’s first trip to Alley Gym. The Gamecocks have played the Paladins four times in Columbia and twice at neutral sites.
– Furman won last year’s meeting in five sets by the scores of 25-21, 22-25, 21-25, 25-21 and 17-15.

Coming Home
– Former Gamecock great Shonda Cole is in her first season as a full-time assistant coach after serving as volunteer assistant last year.
– 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 756-583 (.565) record.
– The Gamecocks are 168-226 (.426) in SEC play.
– In matches played at the Carolina Volleyball Center, South Carolina is 167-91 (.647).