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Nov. 25, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s volleyball program will close out the 2015 this week with a pair of road matches. The team will take on Arkansas Wednesday night, then travel to Missouri for the finale on Friday, Nov. 27. Both matches can be seen on the SEC Network +.

Friday: at Arkansas, 7:00 p.m. | SEC Network + | Live Stats
Sunday: at Missouri, 8:00 p.m. | SEC Network + | Live Stats
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Scouting Arkansas (11/25)
• The Razorbacks are coached by Rob Pulliza, who is in his eighth season with the program.
• The program has wins over #11 Wisconsin and #9 Florida earlier this season, but has lost two straight coming in to Wednesday. Last weekend, the team was swept by Missouri and Auburn.
• Individually, transfer Pilar Victoria has been unstoppable for the Hogs. In this, her first season after coming in from Texas, she is leading the SEC in kills and points per set (4.68 and 5.18, respectively).
• Victoria is not the only offensive option, however, as Breana Jones (.435) and Chanell Clark-Bibbs (.355) rank in the top ten for overall hitting percentage. Leading the offense is setter Adrien Wohlschlaeger, who ranks fourth in the SEC in assists per set (10.54)

Series History vs. The Razorbacks
• Friday will be the 35th meeting in the all-time series, with Arkansas leading 23-11.
• The Hogs have won five straight at home dating back to 2008, and nine of the last 11 meetings.
• In the most recent meeting, the Gamecocks won a dramatic four-set match at home on Oct. 25. The Razorbacks were aiming to force a fifth set, but a kill from Joely Cabrera sealed a 28-26 win in the fourth and final set. Sarah Blomgren and Dessaa Legros each had 13 kills for Carolina.

Scouting Missouri (11/25)
• Head Coach Wayne Kreklow and the Tigers are in the thick of the SEC title hunt entering the final weekend of competition, boasting a 25-4 overall record with a 13-3 mark in conference play.
• Despite losing six letterwinners from 2014’s team that finished 16-17, the Tigers are a game behind Texas A&M for the top spot in the SEC and have the most overall wins of anyone in the conference.
• As a team, Missouri ranks third in the SEC in hitting percentage (.265, 25th nationally) and third in blocks (2.75 per set, 23rd nationally). The Tigers have also been tough on serve, averaging 1.44 aces per set. That is second only to Ole Miss in the conference.
• Individually, junior Carly Kan has been one of the best players in the country, with an average of four kills and over 2.5 digs per set. She is joined by three other Tigers with over 200 kills to their name this season. Defensively, the combo of Alyssa Munlyn and Emily Thater have eaten up the opposition’s attack all season long. Both average over a block per set and have over 100 total blocks this season.

Series History vs. The Tigers
• Missouri leads the all-time series, 3-1. The two first met as conference rivals in 2012.
• The Tigers won the first three meetings before Carolina’s win last season.
• In the most recent meeting, the Gamecocks hit .358 to upset the then-defending SEC champion at the Carolina Volleyball Center. Koko Atoa-Williams matched a career-high with 18 kills while hitting a career-best .515 with one attack error on 33 swings to lead the Gamecocks to the upset win.

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 returned 5.1 percent (70) of their assists from 2014.
• Carolina returns 41.8 percent (766) of its digs from last season, but lost libero Mikaela Christiaansen.
• 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 Alabama (11/22)
• The South Carolina volleyball team ended its 2015 home schedule Sunday against Alabama. The Gamecocks were led by Sarah Blomgren’s 14 kills and seven blocks from Jacqy Angermiller, but could not slow down `Bama’s dynamic duo in a 3-1 loss.
• The Gamecocks committed a season-high 14 service errors with five aces. On the receiving end, the Carolina defense gave up seven aces.
• Now with the home season complete, the Gamecocks clinched their fifth-straight season with a winning record at home. The team finished the season 9-7 at the Carolina Volleyball Center, four coming in SEC play.
• Alabama has won four straight in the series. The Gamecocks have not won at home over them since 2011.
• Finishing with 40 total assists, freshman Aubrey Ezell passed Katelyn Panzau (2003) for sole possession of fourth place in the single-season assists record at Carolina.
• Sarah Blomgren now has five matches this season where she has double-digit kills and hit over .400. She finished with 14 on just 23 swings Sunday, her most accurate performance since hitting .545 at Mississippi State Oct. 4.

Over the Last Five Matches…
• The Gamecocks are 2-3, all in conference play.
• Sarah Blomgren leads the team on offense with 67 kills (3.72 per set) and is hitting .232.
• Darian Dozier is averaging 3.22 kills per set with a .357 hitting percentage. She has also chipped in 1.57 blocks per set.
• As a team, Carolina has out-hit opponents .254-.209.
• The Gamecocks are averaging 2.88 blocks per set. The team has 52 blocks total over the last five matches, compared to just 29 for opponents.

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. At Alabama on Nov. 8, Legros passed 300 kills for the season. To contrast that, she had 187 kills in 47 matches over her first two seasons with the team (1.62 kills/set) and had just 56 all of last season.
• It isn’t just her offense that has come around, she is also seeing career numbers on defense. Her 36 total blocks through 29 matches is 17 more than the combined total from 2013 and 2014, and her 174 digs in 103 sets (1.69 per set) is more than 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, starting every match so far without missing a single set. Her efforts have already 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.
• For the season, her 1,105 total assists are fourth-most in a single season in the program’s rally-scoring era. With just 16 assists against Arkansas, she would pass Bridget Denson-Dorman (2008) for sole possession of second.

“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. She hit .217 as a junior in 2014, but through 29 matches this season she has hit .300 or better 13 times and has a season average of .259.
• After Sunday’s performance against Alabama, Sarah now has five matches this season where she has double-digit kills and hit over .400.

When Carolina Wins
• The Gamecocks out-hit opponents .266-.138. The team is 10-2 when out-hitting the opposition.
• Carolina 2.3 more digs and 3.4 more kills per set.
• The Gamecocks have out-blocked opponents 86-72.
• Carolina has 59 service aces, averaging 1.44 per set, while opponents have just 33 aces (0.80 per set) with 95 errors.

When Carolina Loses
• Carolina’s opponents hold a .259-.184 advantage in hitting percentage. The Gamecocks are 3-14 when being out hit in a match.
• The Gamecocks allow almost two kills and a dig more per set. The team is just 1-12 when being out-killed and out-dug.
• Carolina has committed 138 service errors to just 67 aces; the opposition has 79 aces with 130 errors.

Doing Work in the Classroom and Community
• 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.

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 third all-time in block assists (373) and fifth in total blocks (417).
• Against Auburn, she matched her career high with 11 blocks and passed Amy Collinsworth (1990-93) for third in block assists. She became the sixth Gamecock ever to pass 400 career blocks, and the first since 1997.
• In the win over Mississippi State Friday, she led the team with four block assists. She passed Heather Larkin (1994-97) for fourth in career blocks, with 421.

Double-Double the Trouble
Aubrey Ezell picked up another double-double against Mississippi State despite the short match, recording 33 assists and 10 digs. Now with 17 for the season, she moves into sole possession of sixth in the single-season list and comes in now at 19th on the career double-double chart. She currently leads the SEC in the category this season.

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.

All-Time Records
• South Carolina holds a 766-599 (.561) record as a program, dating back to its first season in 1973.
• In matches played at the Carolina Volleyball Center, South Carolina is 174-95 (.648) all time.
• With 73 career wins, head coach Scott Swanson ranks third in program history for wins. Versus Arkansas on Oct. 25, 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.