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Aug. 29, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The first Southeastern Conference weekly awards were released for volleyball Monday afternoon, and outside hitter Mikayla Shields was recognized as the Freshman of the Week after earning MVP honors at the College of Charleston Invitational. Shields is the first Gamecock to earn SEC weekly honors since Aubrey Ezell in October of last season.

It was an impressive debut for Shields, a native of Orlando, Fla. She hit .403 for the weekend and finished with 33 kills and nine blocks while leading the Gamecocks to a 3-0 record. The team did not drop a set all weekend, and Shields would be a major reason for that.

She made her collegiate debut Friday night against the host Cougars, and led the team with nine kills. The next morning, against Tennessee-Martin, she had 11 kills, then closed the weekend later that day against Binghamton. She finished with 13 kills and hit .522 against the Bearcats, and flexed her defensive muscles with six total blocks. She finished the weekend ranked eighth in the SEC in kills per set (3.67), eighth in hitting percentage (.403) and 12th in blocks per set (1.0), making her the only freshman to be ranked in each of those three categories.

Shields and the Gamecocks return home this week for a home tournament, the Carolina Classic. First up will be the home opener against rival Clemson Friday at 7 p.m., with Saturday matches against Furman (1 p.m.) and Winthrop (7 p.m.) to follow.