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Talented Field Awaits Gamecocks at TCU
Beach Volleyball  . 

Talented Field Awaits Gamecocks at TCU

The team faces No. 3 Florida St., No. 5 TCU and No. 19 Georgia St. over the two-day tournament

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – South Carolina beach volleyball heads back out on the road for week two of the season, facing a talented group of teams at the Horned Frog Challenge at TCU. Running March 4-5, the Gamecocks play Central Arkansas and the fifth-ranked Frogs on Friday and then No. 3 Florida State and No. 19 Georgia State on Saturday.


  • Earning their first career wins over the weekend were Sophie Bengoechea, Peyton Gray, Sophie Manson and Lauren Wilcock.
  • Senior Whitley Ballard had a solid opening day, going 2-0 at No. 5 with teammate Hannah Mackenhausen. They were the first two wins for Ballard since her freshman season in 2019.
  • With a straight-set win over No. 20 FGCU, Jordan Smith moved up to eighth in program history for career wins vs. ranked opponents, with 14.
  • Sammy Ansel and Abby Carroll competed in the exhibition pairing for three duals. The two won in straight sets vs. FGCU and Mercer and split sets against Stetson. Freshmen Kristen Schenck and Kennedy Westendorff won their exhibition match against Charleston.
  • This was South Carolina’s best opening weekend since also going 3-1 in 2018, also at the Stetson Spring Fling.
  • Whitley Ballard and Hannah Mackenhausen finished the weekend with a undefeated record, going 3-0 at No. 5 before moving up and winning at No. 4 in the finale vs. Mercer. On top of that success, the duo did not drop a single set in that span and their closest set score was a 21-17 win against FGCU.
  • Ballard now has a 6-2 career record playing in the No. 4 position.
  • Skylar Allen’s three wins at No. 1 this weekend gives her 23 for her career, the third-most by a Gamecock in the top spot in program history.
  • Alyssa Keller joined Allen in the top pairing and now has eight career wins at No. 1. That moves her into the program’s top-10, all the way up to eighth.
  • Jordan Smith went 3-1 at the second pairing this weekend and is 11-2 at No. 2 in her career. She moved into the top 10 for career wins at the second spot in the lineup. 

Central Arkansas went 1-1 in its opening weekend, losing 3-2 to North Alabama and sweeping Hendrix 5-0. The Bears are coming off a program-record 18 wins in 2021 and made the move to the Atlantic Sun Conference for 2022. The team’s top returners are Julia Oravec (18-15 overall, 14-10 at No. 4) and Faith Hasness (20-14 overall, 14-12 at No. 2).

TCU is the popular darkhorse pick for national title contender this spring, thanks to a mix of talented returners and accomplished transfers and freshmen joining the roster. The team won 26 duals in 2021 and had three individuals earn all-america recognition: Daniela Alvarez, Tania Moreno and Hailey Brockett. Adding to that are transfers Kaylie McHugh (Tulane), Alexis Filippone (Pepperdine), Sutton MacTavish (Pepperdine) and Megan Muret (UCLA). The Frogs went 4-0 in the first weekend, with wins over No. 13 FAU and No. 8 Cal Poly as highlights.

Georgia State also loaded up its roster, pushing for a return to the national tournament. The Panthers added three transfers to a deep roster of returners, bringing in Yasmin Kuck (Stetson) Kayla Whetstone (FGCU) and accomplished indoor athletes Tyler Lindgren (Temple) and Chloee Kleespies (Toledo). The bolster a group of returners that include the team’s 2021 No. 1 pairing of Eden Hawes and Maddy Delmonte (13 wins at No. 1), Angel and Bella Ferary (19-3 overall, 14-2 at No. 5), Kelly Dorn (18-11 overall, 11-3 at No. 2) and Becky Tresham (12-11 overall) .

Florida State went 4-0 at home in the opening weekend, dropping just one pairing all weekend with wins over No. 13 FAU and No. 8 Cal Poly along the way. The Seminoles returned almost all of their starters from 2021’s 33-win season and added two west coast standouts in Brooke Bauer (Pepperdine) and Jordan Polo (Cal) to their depth.

As year nine of Gamecock beach volleyball gets underway, the team will have a new look to the roster. Only five of the ten starters from 2021 are back, with three of the top-10-winningest players in program history graduating. What the team may appear to lack in experience on the roster is more than made up by the experience on its coaching staff. Head coach Moritz Moritz and assistant coach RJ Abella have been together since the program’s first season back in 2014. Across all of collegiate beach volleyball, the duo is currently tied only with UCLA (Stein Metzger and Jenny Johnson Jordan) in terms of longest tenure together as a staff.

Skylar Allen was one of three women to be unanimous selections to the CCSA’s preseason all-conference team, thanks to a breakout 2021 season that culminated in her earning second team All-America honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Allen finished her first full season with the team with a 22-10 overall record and 20-10 mark playing at number one. No other Gamecock individual in program history had more than 17 wins at number one entering the year and only four other Gamecocks had 20 or more CAREER wins at number one prior to Allen’s accomplishment. Of her 22 wins, six came against nationally ranked opponents and 11 came against CCSA rivals.

Jordan Smith enjoyed a career year in 2021, finishing with a 26-4 record as an individual, and joined Allen on the preseason all-conference team. The 26 wins was one shy of the single-season record for the program, but her .867 win percentage shattered the previous best for the program. She went 10-2 against ranked opponents and set a single-season program record with 14 wins against CCSA opponents. Smith won 11 matches in a row with teammate Jess Vastine, the second-longest win streak ever by a Gamecock pair, but as an individual her 17-game win streak from Feb. 26 to March 21 is a program record. She spent most of the season paired with Vastine and the duo’s 17-3 record together set a single-season record for highest pair win percentage (.850).

The team earned its first-ever ranking by the AVCA on March 6, 2017, and have not left the polls since. The Gamecocks peaked at No. 8 in the polls in 2018 and check in at No. 18 for the 2022 preseason poll release on March 2, marking 51 weekly rankings in a row in the coaches poll. 

South Carolina will have a new look to its starting lineup for 2022, as half of the starting lineup and nine total Gamecocks graduated from the program from the 2021 roster. Included in the graduates are three of the top-10 career wins leaders in program history – Katie Smith (1st), Carly Schnieder (3rd) and Jess Vastine (8th). The team’s winningest returner is Jordan Smith and her 31 career wins, followed by Skylar Allen’s 27. Along with the return of sophomores Hannah Mackenhausen and Alyssa Keller – who were mainstays in the lineup as freshmen – the coaching staff has high hopes for a number of young Gamecocks who will aim to find their place in the starting lineup this spring. Preseason candidates for breakout seasons include juniors Kaeli Crews, Peyton Gray and Sophie Manson, sophomores Sammy Ansel, Sophie Bengoechea and Jillian Gleason and freshmen with accomplished club careers like Lauren Wilcock and Chase Teal.

Freshmen Chase Teal and Lauren Wilcock were named to the AVCA’s High School Beach All-American teams, announced back in September. The Gamecocks now have seven current or past honorees on the roster and have 10 total in the eight years the award has existed. The duo also were recognized nationally on the eight-woman Platform 1440 All Star team.

Teal, a member of the second team all america list, comes to South Carolina from Creedmoor, N.C. Her top finishes at the club level are podium finishes at the 2021 p1440 Nationals U18 (3rd) and 2021 USAV Nationals U18 (2nd), and titles at the 2020 AVP America Myrtle Beach College Open and 2018 USAV Nationals U16. As an indoor volleyball athlete, she helped her Falls Lake Academy high school team to two state championships.

Wilcock is one of eight women nationally to make the AVCA’s all american first team. The Mendham, N.J. native enjoyed plenty of success on the national club tournament circuit, highlighted by a second-place finish at the 2021 p1440 Nationals U18 and titles at the 2021 ESPL Gulf Shores Beach Wars U18 (1st) and 2020 AVP America Nationals U18 (1st). She was also recognized individually with a Young Gun award after her 2020 title with AVP Nationals. Through July 2021, she held the No. 1 ranking from p1440 Beach and a No. 2 ranking from AVP America for U18 athletes.


  • The team’s 23 wins are tied for the second highest total in program history, and its 12 regular-season wins against conference opponents is a single-season record. All nine of South Carolina’s losses this season came against nationally ranked opponents. The Gamecocks’ 14 total duals against ranked teams is the third-highest single-season total in program history.
  • Katie Smith and Skylar Allen were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) second-team All-America squad. The duo are the first Gamecocks in program history to earn All-America status.
  • Allen and Smith were also named the AVCA’s National Pair of the Week on April 27, coming after the pair finished with a perfect 4-0 record at the CCSA conference tournament, including wins over the top pairs for No. 3 Florida State and No. 7 TCU. 
  • Allen and Smith finished the season 16-6 together on court one, with an 8-7 record against nationally ranked opponents. Only Cadie Bates and Shannon Williams in 2019 (17) have more single-season wins in the top pairing, but Allen and Smith’s .727 win percentage is a program single-season record for playing on the top court.
  • Individually, Allen ended the season with a 20-10 record on the top court. She is the first Gamecock to win 20 matches at No. 1 in a single season; the previous high was 17.
  • Smith ends her career at South Carolina with 96 career dual wins and 99 career wins overall; both are program records.
  • Jess Vastine and Jordan Smith ended the season sharing the team lead for individual wins with Carly Schnieder. The trio finished with 26, one shy of the program’s single season record.
  • Smith’s record of 26-4 gives her a final win percentage of .867, a single-season program record.
  • Schnieder and Morgyn Greer finished the season with a record of 23-5 as a pair. That is the third-highest single-season win total by a Gamecock pair in program history
  • Schnieder leaves South Carolina with 92 career wins, the third-highest total in program history.


  • South Carolina holds a 137-83 (.620) all-time program record, dating back to 2014.
  • The Gamecocks joined the CCSA for volleyball in 2016, and have an all-time conference record of 45-28 (.616).
  • In matches at Wheeler Beach, Carolina is 59-20 (.747).
  • Moritz Moritz is in his ninth season as head coach of the Gamecocks, spanning the entire young history of the program. He earned his 100th career win vs. Texas A&M-Kingsville on April 6, 2019.