Beach Volleyball Hosts Final Home Tournament of the Spring
The Gamecocks face two ranked opponents during the Palmetto Invitational
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina beach volleyball hosts a talent-filled tournament when it kicks off the Palmetto Invitational on Wheeler Beach April 15-16. The Gamecocks face College of Charleston (18-8) and Coastal Carolina (17-10) on Friday, then a pair of ranked foes await on Saturday with No. 20 FGCU (20-7) and No. 14 Georgia State (18-11). The Gamecocks play at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, then 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Friday night, the team will recognize six graduating Gamecocks prior to the dual against Coastal Carolina. The senior night ceremony begins at 5 p.m., honoring Whitley Ballard, Ashley Brasfield, Abby Carroll, Nicole Deobler, Jordan Smith and Courtney Weber.
This spring, attendance at home matches is again open to the general public. Masks are encouraged but not required at Wheeler Beach. Please continue to follow the athletics department’s clear bag policy. Fan entrance is only permitted on the north side of the facility through the main gate and only teams and game-day personnel are permitted on the sand surface.
- The team’s win over Charleston on April 9 was the 150th win in program history, all coming under head coach Moritz Moritz.
- Senior Jordan Smith enters the weekend with a 48-15 career record. With two more wins, she would be the ninth member of the program to reach 50 for a career and potentially could break Macie Tendrich’s record for fastest to 50 wins. Tendrich reached the milestone in 68 career matches, Smith enters the weekend with 63 career matches.
- Injuries in the lineup pressed two Gamecocks into the lineup last weekend at Coastal Carolina. Sammy Ansel and Chase Teal each made their first career starts, Ansel finished the weekend 2-1 on court four and Teal moved straight on to court one and went 2-0 with Jordan Smith.
- With Ansel and Teal each winning in their collegiate debuts last weekend, that makes nine different Gamecocks who have won their first career matches so far this season.
- Skylar Allen went 2-0 at the Coastal Carolina tournament last weekend, both on court one. The two wins gives her 34 career wins in the number one pairing, moving the junior past Katie Smith (2017-21).
- The Gamecocks have excelled under pressure to a historic degree this season; as a team they are 26-11 in matches that go to a third set. It is the first time since 2018 that Carolina won 25 or more three-set matches and the .703 win percentage in three-setters is currently out-pacing the current program record of .674 (29-14) set back in 2018.
SCOUTING THE WEEKEND FIELD
College of Charleston is 18-8 and winners of eight of the last 10. The Cougars already have a handful of 15-game winners, headlined by Emma Falk/Maria Zweig (15-2 on court three) and Gabi Bailey/Kyra Thompson (16-3 on court four).
- South Carolina leads, 14-2 (Since 2014)
- Gamecocks won, 5-0 (April 9, 2022)
- The Gamecocks are on a six-game win streak in the series, dropping just one point total in that span.
Coastal Carolina is 17-10 overall, splitting its four matches at home last weekend with losses to Charleston and the Gamecocks. The Chanticleers have been powered by the pairing of Ellie Hanford and Natalie Honzovicova, who are currently 15-1 together on court three. Martine Kragholm is the team’s mainstay on court one, with a 15-12 overall record in the top spot splitting time with two partners.
- South Carolina leads, 9-0 (Since 2016)
- Gamecocks won, 4-1 (April 8, 2022)
- While South Carolina took last weekend’s meeting by a 4-1 score, four of the five total courts went to three sets and the Gamecocks won three of them to fuel the win.
Florida Gulf Coast is in the midst of a history season, already with the program’s single-season wins record and the No. 20 spot in the latest AVCA coaches poll. The Eagles are led by a strong pairing on court one, Maddison Parmelly and Kacie Johnson are 15-7 together at number one. Emma Hansen and Kaitlyn Luebbers have also fueled the team’s success, going 14-4 together on court five.
- South Carolina leads, 4-1 (Since 2016)
- Gamecocks won, 5-0 (Feb. 25, 2022)
- This is FGCU’s second trip to Wheeler Beach, the first coming in 2018.
Georgia State enters the tournament with the No. 14 spot in the AVCA poll. The battle-tested Panthers have a schedule comparable to South Carolina, with only one loss to an unranked opponent and strong wins over nationally ranked opponents to put them in good position for postseason play. The two teams met earlier this season at the Horned Frog Challenge at TCU, Georgia State came out with a 4-1 win with decisive sweeps on the top three courts.
- Georgia State leads, 8-7 (Since 2014)
- Panthers won, 4-1 (March 5, 2022)
- Georgia State won the first six meetings in the series, but have lost three straight games on Wheeler Beach entering the weekend.
For continued updates on the team, follow @GamecockBeachVB on Twitter and Instagram.