Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Sept. 10, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team will be on the road for the second-straight week as it heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., this weekend for the Michigan Challenge.

The Gamecocks (4-2) are slated to face Pittsburgh (1 p.m.) and No. 24 Michigan (7:30 p.m.) on Friday and Western Michigan (1 p.m.) on Saturday at Cliff Keen Arena.

Friday: vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. |
Friday: vs. Michigan, 7:30 p.m. |
Saturday: vs. Western Michigan, 1 p.m. |
On Twitter: @GamecockVolley
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.

Recapping Furman’s Carolina Classic
• The Gamecocks went 2-1 last weekend in Greenville, S.C., defeating rival Clemson (3-1) and Winthrop (3-2) before losing in four sets to tournament host Furman.
• The win over the Tigers was Carolina’s first in the series since a 3-0 victory in Columbia on Sept. 7, 2012.
• Junior outside hitter Dessaa Legros recorded her first career double-double against the Tigers with career highs in kills (21) and digs (19).
• The Gamecocks had their most dominant offensive effort of the season in a 25-15 fourth-set win against Clemson as they hit .500, recording 17 kills on 34 swings with no attack errors.
• Carolina dropped the first two sets against Winthrop before winning the next three. The win marks just the second time the Gamecocks have lost the first two sets and came back to win since rallying from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Alabama in Columbia on Nov. 13, 2005. Carolina also accomplished the feat last season against Ole Miss on Sept. 26.
• The Gamecocks recorded a season-high 16 blocks against Winthrop, including 13 in the final three sets.
• Junior Megan Kirkland tallied a career-high 23 digs against the Eagles.

Carolina’s All-Tournament Accolades
• Junior outside hitter Dessaa Legros was named to the Gamecock Invitational All-Tournament Team after averaging a tournament-best 4.22 kills per set.
• Legros earned a spot on Furman’s Carolina Classic All-Tournament Team as she averaged 4.23 kills and 2.62 digs per set.
• Junior DS/Libero Megan Kirkland was also named to Furman’s Carolina Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 3.92 digs per set and recording five service aces on the weekend.

Gamecocks in the SEC Stats
• Carolina ranks in the top-five in the league in three categories. The Gamecocks rank fifth in opponent hitting percentage (.176), fifth in blocks (2.23 per set) and third in digs (15.05 per set).
• Junior outside hitter Dessaa Legros ranks second in kills per set (4.23), fourth in kills (93) and fifth in points per set (4.52).
• Junior middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller ranks sixth in blocks per set (1.15).
• Freshman setter Aubrey Ezell ranks ninth in both assists per set (10.27) and digs per set (3.41).
• Ezell is also tied for the league lead in double-doubles with five.

When Carolina Wins
• The Gamecocks out-hit opponents .277-.130.
• Carolina out-digs opponents 15.9-13.1 per set.
• The Gamecocks have out-blocked opponents 34-21 in total blocks and 2.3-1.4 in blocks per set.
• Carolina has recorded 22 of its 25 service aces, averaging 1.5 per set.

When Carolina Loses
• Carolina’s opponents hold a .271-.166 advantage in hitting percentage.
• Opponents out-dig the Gamecocks 15.4-13.3.
• The Gamecocks still hold the edge in blocks (15-12) and blocks per set (2.1-1.7).
• Carolina has recorded only three service aces while giving up 1.6 aces per set.

Records Watch
• Senior middle blocker Darian Dozier continues to climb the school’s career records list for block assists and total blocks. Dozier currently ranks sixth all-time in block assists (308) and ninth in total blocks (339).

Heading to Big Ten Country
• This weekend’s trip to Ann Arbor will be Carolina’s first to Big Ten country since playing in Illinois’ Illini Classic in Champaign, Ill., on Aug. 27-28, 2010.
• The Gamecocks went 0-3 in Champaign, with losses to Middle Tennessee State, No. 6 Illinois and BYU.
• The trip is Carolina’s second all-time to Ann Arbor. The Gamecocks dropped a 3-0 decision at No. 16 Michigan on Sept. 9, 2000.

Scouting Pittsburgh
• The Panthers went 25-6 overall in 2014, including a 13-5 record in ACC play.
• Pittsburgh enters the tournament with a 5-1 record, with its lone loss being a 3-1 decision at No. 5 Nebraska.
• The Panthers have not lost a set in their five wins.
• Pittsburgh returns eight players from a year ago.
• The Panthers lead the ACC in assists per set (13.84), kills per set (14.42) and digs per set (15.89) and rank second in blocks per set (2.61) and fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.139).
• Senior middle blocker Amanda Orchard returns to lead the way after earning AVCA Honorable Mention All-America honors last season. Orchard is averaging 2.32 kills per set and 1.32 blocks per set, which ranks fifth in the ACC.
• Senior setter Jenna Jacobson is averaging 6.84 assists and 1.74 digs per set.
• Senior Kadi Kullerkann leads the team with an average of 3.58 kills per set, which ranks ninth in the ACC.
• Freshman libero Angela Seman ranks second in the ACC in digs per set (5.32).

Series History vs. Pittsburgh
• Friday’s matchup will be the fourth between the Gamecocks and Panthers.
• Pittsburgh leads the series 2-1.
• The Gamecocks won the most recent meeting 3-1 on Sept. 2, 2005 at the Florida State Tournament in Tallahassee, Fla.

Scouting No. 24 Michigan
• Michigan returns five starters and the libero from last year’s squad that went 13-17 overall and 8-12 in Big Ten play.
• The Wolverines enter the weekend with a 6-0 record and are ranked No. 24 in the AVCA Poll.
• Michigan is holding opponents to a .126 hitting percentage and is hitting .229 as a team.
• The Wolverines are out-blocking opponents 61-38 in total blocks and 2.7-1.7 in blocks per set.
• Junior middle blocker Abby Cole is the Wolverines’ top returner. Cole, a 2014 All-Big Ten selection, is averaging 2.81 kills per set and 1.76 blocks per set, which ranks second in the Big Ten.
• Sophomore outside hitter Caroline Knop, a 2014 Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection, leads the squad in kills per set (2.91) and is second on the squad in digs per set (3.35).
• Sophomore opposite Katherine Mahlke (2.52) and freshman outside hitter Carly Skjodt (2.16) are also averaging more than two kills per set.
• Senior libero Tiffany Morales ranks eighth in the Big Ten in digs per set (4.32).
• Senior setter Carly Warner is averaging 6.78 assists and 3.30 digs per set.

Series History vs. Michigan
• Friday’s meeting will be the third all-time between Carolina and Michigan.
• The Wolverines lead the all-time series 2-0.
• In the most recent meeting, the Gamecocks lost to No. 16 Michigan, 3-0, on Sept. 9, 2000 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Scouting Western Michigan
• The Broncos return five starters and the libero from last year’s squad that went 22-14 overall and 9-7 in Mid-American Conference play. Western Michigan went on to win the MAC Tournament title. The Broncos have won 20 or more matches in nine of the last 10 seasons.
• Western Michigan enters the tournament with a 1-7 record, including four-straight losses. The Broncos have played two top-25 teams in No. 15 Arizona State and No. 9 Colorado State.
• Western Michigan ranks fourth in the MAC in assists per set (11.80), kills per set (12.73) and digs per set (15.53).
• The Broncos are being out-hit .254-.195 this season.
• Sophomore Sydney LeMay returns for the Broncos after being named MAC Freshman of the Year and first team All-MAC last season. LeMay is averaging a team-best 2.46 kills per set and 0.54 digs per set this season.
• Freshman setter Mary Murphy leads the MAC in assists per set (10.43).
• Junior middle blocker Nicole Kinser is averaging 2.40 kills per set and 1.23 blocks per set, which ranks third in the MAC.
• Freshman libero Hailey Knecht is averaging a team-best 4.50 digs per set, which ranks fifth in the MAC.

Series History vs. Western Michigan
• Saturday’s matchup will be the first between the Gamecocks and Broncos.

Doing Work in the Classroom and the Community
• South Carolina had a league-best 12 volleyball players on the 2014 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
• The Gamecocks earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2014-15 school year with a cumulative team GPA of 3.34. Carolina has earned the honor four-straight years.
• The volleyball program was also among the top community service teams in terms of hours at South Carolina last year. The Gamecocks compiled a total of 480.5 community service hours, which breaks down to 28.26 hours per player.
• Throughout the 2014-15 school year, the Gamecocks gave back to 25 different events and organizations.

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 758-584 (.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).