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Three Gamecock Pairs Earn AVCA Top Flight Honors
Beach Volleyball  . 

Three Gamecock Pairs Earn AVCA Top Flight Honors

May 16, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) debuted its AVCA Top Flight Award following the 2018 regular season. The program recognizes top-performing pairs across all five positions in the lineup, and three teams from the South Carolina program were recipients of the award.

To qualify, a pair must compete in at least 15 matches together at one position in the lineup and win at least 75 percent of those matches. The Gamecocks three pairs honored were Cadie Bates and Katie Smith at the second position, Julia Mannisto and Carly Schnieder at the third position, and Leah Perri and Macie Tendrich in the fourth position.

Bates and Smith compiled a 22-9 overall record, with a 20-7 record in duals with a 6-2 record against conference opponents and seven wins over AVCA top-20 teams. They are one of nine teams to represent the number two flight. The duo went 16-4 on court two before moving up to the top position for postseason play. Their 22 overall wins are third-most in a single season in program history. They picked up signature wins over No. 11 Georgia State, No. 7 LSU, No. 3 Hawai’i and No. 11 Grand Canyon in the regular season, and were named the CCSA Pair of the Week on March 27, after wins over FGCU, Hawai’i, TCU and UAB at the team’s Gamecock Challenge Tournament. After the season, they competed at the USA Volleyball Collegiate Championship, and reached the quarterfinal round.

Mannisto and Schnieder went 19-8 in duals in the No. 3 position, including a team-best 8-1 record against conference rivals. In total their 21 wins rank sixth in program history for a single season. Nine of those wins came against AVCA top-20 opponents, with top wins over Georgia State, LSU, Hawai’i, Grand Canyon and FIU. The two also qualified for the USA Volleyball Collegiate Championship, the first appearance for both. After two full seasons together, Mannisto and Schnieder are now the winningest pair in program history (with 43 wins). They are one of eight pairs to make Top Flight at No. 3.

Perri and Tendrich led all Gamecock pairs with 24 wins, which rank second in program history for a single season. The pair’s 20 wins at No. 4 are the most by any Gamecock pair in that position in the program’s history. They tied for the team lead with eight conference wins, and led the team with a 12-8 record against nationally ranked opponents, including wins over No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 7 LSU (twice), Georgia State (three times) and No. 10 FIU. Perri and Tendrich’s 11-straight wins from March 3 to March 24, tying the program record for longest win streak. Tendrich leaves South Carolina as the program’s all-time wins leader, with 95 overall. The duo is one of 11 teams to earn Top Flight recognition.

Thanks in large part to the team’s deep lineup, South Carolina finished the season with a 24-9 overall record that earned it the number six seed at the NCAA tournament. The 24 wins are a new program record, and marks the third-straight season with 20 or more wins.