June 20, 2016
By Brad Muller | More Features
As the spring sports have come to a close, South Carolina’s fall athletics programs are already gearing up for the 2016 season. Season tickets are now on sale for South Carolina Volleyball, and head coach Scott Swanson likes the way Gamecock fans have created a home court advantage.
“Our record at home speaks for itself,” Swanson said. “We’re very good at home. I think the home court advantage that our arena provides is huge. It’s a tough place for visitors. We love it when the band is there, and the students have become more and more interested. The fans truly mean several points per game for us. I’ve seen that, and our players realize that. Sometimes they play more motivated when they know the fans are behind them. The fans are awesome.”
“When you have a bunch of fans watching, you really want to put on a show,” said senior Dessaa Legros. “It really helps us tough out those hard matches. For instance, this past season when we beat Arkansas here, our fans really helped us a lot. Everyone in the gym just rallied together.”
South Carolina ranked sixth in the SEC by averaging nearly 1,100 fans per home match at the Carolina Volleyball Center last year, and the Gamecocks have enjoyed a winning record at home in each of the last three seasons. South Carolina sold 184 season tickets last year, and the marketing staff has bigger goals this season.
“For the 2016 season, our goal is to sell 200 season tickets, which would be the most in program history,” said Amber Wise, Assistant Director of Marketing. “We would also like to average about 1,200 fans per match. Having the Carolina Volleyball Center packed on match days makes the atmosphere so much better and our student-athletes really do feed off the energy from the crowd. Having the Carolina Band present on top of a packed house really makes the CVC a fun place to be on match days.”
Season tickets are only $25 apiece for adults and $10 apiece for children 17 and under.
People from other teams have told us that it’s hard for them to play here because our fans are right on top of them. Our fans are amazing.
“Volleyball is a very fun and fast paced event to take a family,” Swanson said. “It’s no longer than an hour and a half, so we’re not here for late nights or anything like that. It’s important to make it affordable so that people can bring a family of six or other large groups can get in at a group rate. It’s extremely affordable.”
Swanson noted that the atmosphere at the Carolina Volleyball Center is among the best in the SEC.
“The fans are so close to the court, and they’re very passionate,” Swanson said. “They cheer for the right things. The more educated the fans get about a sport, the easier it is for them to influence momentum. Other coaches have told me that we have the toughest SEC home court. It’s smaller than some, but our fans are right on top of you.”
“The last couple of years, we’ve had an amazing turnout at our home matches,” Legros said. “People from other teams have told us that it’s hard for them to play here because our fans are right on top of them. Our fans are amazing. They put pressure on the other team.”
With most of South Carolina’s matches now televised on the SEC Network or SEC Network+, it is more important than ever to have fans at home events.
“It’s vital,” Swanson said. “How we show on TV is huge for our recruiting, and it’s all about recruiting for us. If we can continue to get the talent we have coming, we’re going to be competing for SEC Championships in the future. That exposure nationally, where people see we have a full gym and a rowdy gym and an awesome environment, it can make a difference to 15, 16, and 17 year old girls watching. It can influence them and make them interested in us.”
Now that season tickets are on sale, Swanson can’t wait for practice to begin later this summer, led by seniors Jacqy Angermiller, Koko Atoa-Williams, Joely Cabrera, Megan Kirkland, and Dessaa Legros.
“Having all of that experience, along with some really good talent coming in to add to that, I think we are going to be really good this year, if we stay healthy,” Swanson said. “I expect to have a successful pre(SEC)-season, and even though we have the toughest SEC slate that we’ve ever had, I think we can put ourselves in position where we’d have a shot to go to the NCAA Tournament. I think this can be our best year since I’ve been here.”
To purchase season tickets for South Carolina Volleyball, please visit gamecocksonline.com/tickets.
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