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Bridget Denson-Dorman Sets Sights on Southern Success
Senior setter Bridget Denson-Dorman helped the Gamecocks improve by seven games a year ago and hopes to get the squad into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years.
Senior setter Bridget Denson-Dorman helped the Gamecocks improve by seven games a year ago and hopes to get the squad into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years.

July 2, 2009

Written by Bryan Powell, South Carolina Media Relations Student Assistant

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The 2008 Gamecock volleyball team posted its best record since 2002 (21-9) with the help of transfer Bridget Denson-Dorman under second-year head coach Ben Somera.

Denson-Dorman came to the Gamecocks after highly successful freshman and sophomore campaigns at the University of Connecticut. There she was a two-time second-team All-BIG EAST setter for the Huskies. She was also voted UConn's team MVP as a freshman and left standing fifth on the all-time assists chart at UConn.

The junior wasted no time making her mark for South Carolina. She finished her first season at Carolina leading the SEC in assists with 785 in conference play. Her season total of 1,120 is the most for a Gamecock setter since Megan Hosp's 1,218 assists in 2002.

"In terms of the setting part, she's such a good volleyball player. All we've asked her to do is come in and play," said Somera. "I just anticipate her continuing to improve."

Denson-Dorman understands the importance of her role as the setter. "Being the setter, I have to be the leader, but I feel like we all bring a lot to the team individually," said Denson-Dorman. "I think it's bringing my intensity and level of volleyball knowledge. We all have things that we bring to make it work."

Somera describes her as a "deceptive" and "athletic" setter. "As a setter, you're always kind of in that quarterback position where everybody looks at you," said Somera. "We ask her to manage her body language and keep us moving in the right direction in terms of calling off and calling our plays quickly and just moving the team and putting their attention forward. She's been doing a great job in those areas."

Denson-Dorman is making the adjustment to the South. "Weather is the biggest difference," she said. "Once Halloween came around, it was weird not having the leaves changing and the colder fall breeze. The Southern hospitality has been really nice and welcoming."



Denson-Dorman has also had to adjust to being the new girl on the block. "Starting as a freshman at UConn, I was able to build relationships with the other freshmen coming in, and we basically started off running the team there. Here, I just came in and had to become a member of the family."

She describes the transition as something that has not been too difficult, thanks to the help of her teammates. Denson-Dorman lives with four of her teammates and has four others in the same dorm. They have helped her become more acclimated to the Southern, city living of Columbia, which differs from the more rural campus of UConn.

Another help for Denson-Dorman has been her mom, who she describes as her biggest influence. "She played volleyball and basketball in college. She played with the USA [volleyball] team. She still coaches and helps me out with that kind of stuff."

With this season over, good things are expected for a South Carolina team that returns 11 players, including six starters.

"This team has a lot of great possibilities ahead of us," said Denson-Dorman. "To go to the NCAA Tournament is something I've always strived for. Seeing how far we can really go as a team and reaching our potential would be great."

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