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

Oct. 29, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s volleyball program continues its home stand this weekend, as it welcomes in 12th-ranked Florida (14-5, 7-3 SEC) Friday night and Ole Miss (19-6, 5-5 SEC) Sunday. Friday’s match against the Gators will be the team’s Dig Pink game, where fans can get in for just $1 when they wear pink.

Friday: Florida, 7 p.m. | SEC Network+ |
Sunday: Ole Miss, 1 p.m. | SEC Network |
On Twitter: @GamecockVolley
Ticket Info | Promotions | Parking
Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Scouting Florida (10/30)
– The demise of Florida volleyball was greatly exaggerated, as the Gators have come off a rare three-match losing streak with a six-match win streak to put them back in the running for regular season champion. During this win streak, the team has dropped just one set and has wins over the only three teams ahead of them in the standings. In the latest AVCA Top 25 poll, it comes in at #12.
– The team finished the 2014 season with a 28-4 overall record and a perfect 18-0 in conference play. It was the team’s 24th 25-win season in program history, all coming under head coach Mary Wise.
– While the team has a number of quality options on offense, its top two-way player has been sophomore middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan. Not only does she lead the team with 4.20 points per set, but her 1.86 blocks per set ranks far and away as the best in the country. On the attack, she ranks third in the SEC with a .433 hitting percentage.
– The team is also getting at least two kills or more from four other players besides Alhassan. Alex Holston leads the way at 3.12 kills, and Ziva Recek averages 2.88 kills and 2.33 digs per set. Setter Mackenzie Dagostino ranks third in the conference with 11.31 assists per set, and has accounted for 82 percent of all the team’s assists so far this season.
– As a team, Florida leads the SEC in a wide margin in hitting percentage (.314), hitting percentage allowed (.155) and blocks (2.99 per set).

Series History vs. The Gators
– Sunday will be the 59th meeting in the all-time series, which Florida leads comfortably, 51-7.
– The Gators have won 16 straight in the series, but Carolina has won four times on its home court.
– In the most recent meeting, the Gators swept Carolina in Gainesville. Rhamat Alhassan hit .706 with 13 kills and added six blocks, and Dessaa Legros led the Gamecocks with nine kills.
– Carolina has not won over Florida since 2006, when it upset the then-#6 Gators 3-1 at home. It was also the last time the team notched a win over a ranked opponent. That win was USC’s first over Florida since Nov. 13, 1994, and ended a 25-match losing streak. Current assistant coach Shonda Cole had an eye-popping 35 kills and 17 digs to lead the team to the big win.

Scouting Ole Miss (11/1)
– After beating Carolina for their first SEC win of the season, the Rebels have been playing well with wins over Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia in the interim. It sits in the middle of the pack at 5-5 in conference, with losses to each of the top four teams in the SEC (Kentucky, Missouri, Texas A&M, Florida) and archrival Mississipi State. On Wedneday, it beat Georgia 3-1.
– The offense has been distributed between four hitters who are all averaging over two kills per set. Nakeyta Clair leads the way at 3.08 kills per set, but the Gamecocks will need to account for Ty Laporte, who hit .583 with 15 kills in the first meeting. The Rebels are also dangerous on serve, leading the SEC and ranking 25th in the country with 1.64 aces per set.
– The South Carolina volleyball team lost at Ole Miss on Oct. 2, yielding in four tough sets. Dessaa Legros led the Gamecocks with 18 kills, but a balanced Rebel attack saw four different hitters record double digit kills.
– Ole Miss had four players with ten kills or more in the match, led by Ty Laporte’s 15. A native of Irmo, S.C., Laporte hit for .583 in the match.
Aubrey Ezell finished with five aces in the match, becoming the first Gamecock since Cara Howley in October of 2012 to have five or more in a single match
– Friday was Dessaa Legros’ fifth game of the season with 15 or more kills in a match. It snaps a three-match stretch where she only averaged 4.67 kills per match and battled a sore hitting wrist.
– Aside from her career best in aces, Ezell also went for a new best with 50 assists. She is the first Carolina setter since Kellie McNeil in October of 2013 to break the 50-assist barrier.

Series History vs. The Rebels
– Sunday will be the 44th meeting in the all-time series, with South Carolina leading 26-17.
– South Carolina is 16-8 at home vs. Ole Miss all time, but the Rebels have won three of the last four matchups in Columbia.

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 were Carolina’s most during under Swanson and the most since 2008 (12).
– The Gamecocks return 10 letter winners from 2014, including five who started 10 or more matches (Koko Atoa-Williams, Darian Dozier, Sarah Blomgren, Jacqy Angermiller, Megan Kirkland).
– Nine states – California (2), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Maryland (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (1), North Carolina (1), South Carolina (2), Texas (5) – and Puerto Rico (1) are represented on the 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, with fellow freshman Madison Borowski also available to set.
– 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 Win Today Would…
– Snap a 16-match losing streak to Florida, and be the team’s highest RPI win of the season. The Gators are currently 12th in the AVCA Top 25 poll and have the top RPI in the country. Sunday was Carolina’s best RPI win of the season, as it knocked off then-35th-ranked Arkansas
– Be the team’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2006, when, coincidentally, it upset the 6th-ranked Gators at home.

Recapping Arkansas (10/25)
– The Gamecocks upset Arkansas (13-7, 3-5 SEC) in dramatic fashion on Sunday, winning 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 28-26). Joely Cabrera would put an exclamation point on one of the craziest rallies of the season to clinch the match for Carolina. The Razorbacks had won three straight and nine of the last ten coming into the match.
– The Gamecocks held the SEC’s top offensive threat, Pilar Victoria, to just a .136 hitting percentage over 59 attacks for the match. Arkansas’ number two option on offense coming into Sunday, Chanell Clark-Bibbs, had just eight kills total.
– It was the first time all season that the team was out-hit in a match and still won. Entering Sunday it was 0-12 when being out-hit. It was also the first time this season that the opponent had more kills in a Gamecock win; the team entered the day 0-8 when that happened.
– It was the 70th career win for Scott Swanson, moving him into sole possession of third place in program history.

Recapping Tennessee (10/18)
– Despite record-setting performances up and down the lineup, the South Carolina volleyball team could not hold off Tennessee Sunday afternoon, losing 3-2 in Knoxville. The Gamecocks were led by career bests from hitters Dessaa Legros (22 kills), Sarah Blomgren (20) and Jacqy Angermiller (14).
– Carolina hit just .076 in the fourth and fifth sets combined, with 18 kills and 13 errors in 65 swings. It was a stark contrast to the .273 it would swing for during the sets it won, one and three.
Aubrey Ezell finished with a new career high of 62 assists. The last time a Gamecock setter had 60 or more in a match was on Sept. 14, 2007, when Jordan Bradosky had 60 vs. Auburn.
– The team set a new season high with 67 kills, surpassing the previous high of 62 against Winthrop.
– Along with setting a new career high in kills, Dessaa Legros reached a new career high with 57 total attacks and enjoyed her best hitting percentage since swinging for .444 against East Carolina. It was Legros’ fifth 20-kill match of the season.
– The team played without starters Darian Dozier or Joely Cabrera. Both were sidelined by injuries.

Over the Last Five Matches…
– The Gamecocks are 2-3, all in conference play. Two of the losses have come in five sets.
Dessaa Legros leads the team with 74 kills (3.70 per set) and also has averaged 2.65 digs per set.
Aubrey Ezell is averaging 11.95 assists and 0.55 aces per set.
Darian Dozier is averaging 1.13 blocks per set. She also leads the team with a .309 hitting percentage to go with 2.33 kills per set.
Megan Kirkland has come on strong as the team’s libero, averaging 4.35 digs and a .982 serve reception rate over 110 attempts.

“State”ing their Case
– After earning wins over fellow South Carolina schools Wofford and Charleston Southern in the Carolina Classic, the Gamecocks are now 4-2 against in-state rivals this season.
– The Gamecocks are 119-57 all-time against in-state school, and do not have a losing record against any individual opponent.

Legros Enjoying Breakout Year
– Junior outside hitter Dessaa Legros has been the team’s biggest breakout star of the 2015 season so far, rocketing past her freshman and sophomore season outputs. Through 22 matches, Legros has 278 kills and is averaging 3.52 kills per set. To contrast that, she had 187 kills in 47 matches over her first two seasons with the team (1.62 kills/set).
– Against Tennessee, Dessaa hit 22 kills on the day, her fifth 20-kill game of the season. If you add up her total from those four matches (103), it is 47 more than she had over 18 matches as a sophomore.
– It isn’t just her offense that has come around, she is also seeing career numbers on the receiving end. Her 28 total blocks through 22 matches is eight more than the combined total from 2013 and 2014, and her 150 digs in 79 sets (1.90 per set) is almost three times as many as she had over the 115 sets as a freshman and sophomore.

Set it and Forget it
– The Gamecocks entered the 2015 season without a returning setter on the roster, but freshman Aubrey Ezell has played like a veteran through her first 22 matches. Her efforts have alredy been recognized on the conference level three times, earning SEC Setter of the Week on Sept. 21 and Oct. 5 and Freshman of the Week on Oct. 19.
– On the road against Tennessee, she went for a new best with 62 assists. The last time a Gamecock setter had 60 or more in a match was on Sept. 14, 2007, when Jordan Bradosky had 60 vs. Auburn.
– Against Arkansas, she recorded her 14th double-double of the season. She is now tied for 10th in program history for a single season, with Juliette Thévenin (2011) and Katie Gerst (1994) also at 14.

“Bloms” Away
Senior outside hitter Sarah Blomgren is another Gamecock in the midst of a career year, and it is largely thanks to a focus on accuracy. In the Carolina Classic, Sarah finished with 41 kills in three matches, but hit a combined percentage of .474. She committed just five errors in 76 total attacks that weekend. She hit .217 as a junior in 2014, but through 22 matches this season she has hit .300 or better nine times. Against Mississippi State on Oct. 4, she went for a career-high 20 kills and hit .545 in the five-set loss. It was the third-best hitting percentage in program history for a five-setter.

When Carolina Wins
– The Gamecocks out-hit opponents .264-.130. The team is 7-2 when committing fewer hitting errors.
– Carolina out-digs opponents 16.97-14.22 per set and averages four more kills per set.
– The Gamecocks have out-blocked opponents 68-60 in total blocks and 2.12-1.94 in blocks per set.
– Carolina has 44 service aces, averaging 1.38 per set.

When Carolina Loses
– Carolina’s opponents hold a .253-.173 advantage in hitting percentage.
– The Gamecocks actually have a slight advantage in blocks (95-94.5) and blocks per set (1.90-1.89).
– Carolina has committed 106 service errors to just 52 aces, the opposition has 62 aces with 91 errors.

Doing Work in the Classroom and the Community
– South Carolina had a league-best 12 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 480.5 community service hours, 28.26 hours per player.
– Through the 2014-15 school year, the Gamecocks gave back to 25 different events or organizations.
– Senior Sarah Blomgren was recently featured on the SEC Network for her work this summer, spending four weeks with the International Student Volunteer organization in Costa Rica. ISV is a global volunteer organization that takes volunteers and places them in community development or wildlife/ecosystem preservation work.
– After the recent storm that flooded the midlands of South Carolina, the team joined others from the Athletics Department to give their time to help others. The group spent time at NewSpring Church, processing food donations and helping load bottles of water. In just the first few days after the storm, student-athletes across all sports combined for over 900 hours of community service.

Bull “Doz”Ing Her Way Through the Record Books
Senior middle blocker Darian Dozier is steadily climbing the school’s career records list in blocks. Dozier ranks fourth all-time in block assists (356) and sixth in total blocks (395). Against Texas A&M, she passed Heather Larkin (1994-97) in assists and Libby Ralston (1989-92) for total blocks.

Double-Double the Trouble
Aubrey Ezell recorded her 13th double-double of the season Sunday against Texas A&M, putting her into the top 12 in program history for a single season. With just one more this season, Ezell would move into a tie for 10th most in a single season.
– Against Mississippi State, Koko-Atoa Williams recorded her 13th career double-double. The duo are on the cusp of the top 20 in career double-doubles, needing 16 to match Katie Gerst (1992-94).

A SEC Anniversary
The Gamecocks celebrated a special anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 11 against Texas A&M. It was the program’s 400th SEC match of all time, dating back to 1991. In the ensuing years, the team has won double-digit conference matches in six of those seasons and made the NCAA tournament six times as well. The team’s best finish ever came in 2002 under coach Kim Hudson, when it went 14-2 and finished second in the SEC East.

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.
– Professionally, she played 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 763-595 (.563) record as a program, dating back to its first season in 1973.
– In matches played at the Carolina Volleyball Center, South Carolina is 171-93 (.646).
– With 70 career wins, head coach Scott Swanson ranks third in program history for wins. Versus Arkansas, he broke a tie with Kathy Graham (1976-77) for third all-time. Kim Hudson (1993-2004) is the program’s wins leader, with 226.

South Carolina Honors Its “First 18”
The Gamecocks are celebrating the history of its women athletes all through the week of Oct. 12. After the implementation of Title IX, South Carolina made 18 scholarships available for female student-athletes for the first time in school history in 1975, with three going to each of the six sports. The teams were also under the direction of the athletics department for the first time. Annette Gibson Lesher, Lee Branch Marks, and Cheryl Grindle were the volleyball program’s first recipients. That 1975 team would win 10 matches under the direction of head coach Vicki Hamilton.