CORY BURKARTH & COACH SWANSON WEEKEND PREVIEW September 27, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -
Gamecocks' Weekend Schedule
Fri., Sept. 28 vs. No. 12 Florida | 7 p.m. EDT | Gametracker | Live Video | @GamecockVolley
Promotion: Rally towel and Verizon bandana giveaway; Fans encouraged to wear white to the match.
Sun., Sept. 30 vs. Ole Miss | 1:30 p.m. EDT | Gametracker | Live Video | @GamecockVolley
Promotion: High School Day and International Fitness Day. The first 50 kids 12 and under receive a free water bottle.
South Carolina has posted a better hitting percentage, more kills and more digs than all but three foes in 2012.
Four teams went undefeated in the opening weekend of SEC play: Florida, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
Out of the six hitters who have played in half the sets and averaged at least one kill per set, five hit over .240 and three are at .325 or better.
Only two non-conference opponents hit over .200 against South Carolina: East Tennessee State (.207) and UAB (.285). All four SEC foes have topped that mark.
South Carolina has been out-blocked five times thus far in 2012 (3-2), while the 2011 team was topped on 13 occasions (1-12 in those matches).
At No. 21 Tennessee (9/23), the Gamecocks did not allow an ace, successfully passing all 87 serves they received.
The last time South Carolina did not allow an ace came in Scott Swanson's first game as head coach, against Montana on Aug. 26, 2011.
All About the Winning Streak
The 13-0 start for the Gamecocks is the best in the program's NCAA-era history. The 1983 team began the season 12-0.
The 13-match winning streak was the second-longest documented skein in program history.
The longest winning streak came in 1983, as the team posted a 14-match streak from Oct. 15-Nov. 18.
The loss that ended the longest skein came in the 1983 Metro Conference Tournament final. Florida State won the five-set match to earn the automatic berth to the third NCAA Tournament. The field only had 28 teams at the time.
That 1983 team also had the best start previously in program history with 12 wins. That was the second-longest documented winning streak for the Gamecocks until this year.
For the second-consecutive year, South Carolina was the last undefeated team in the Southeastern Conference.
Home Matches Notes
South Carolina is playing 17 matches plus one exhibition in the Volleyball Competition Facility this fall, the most since moving into the building in 1996.
It's one more than the inaugural season of the VCF, when SC hosted the 1996 SEC Tournament.
The most home matches ever for South Carolina came in 1990, when the team hosted 21 contests.
South Carolina is on the second-longest winning streak since moving into the VCF in 1996, winning 12 straight matches dating back to the Alabama match on Nov. 6, 2011.
The other two double-digit VCF winning streaks were snapped by Florida, a 17-match span from Oct. 14, 2001 to Oct. 24, 2002 and a 10-match stretch from Sept. 13, 2000, to Nov. 10, 2000.
The match against Clemson on Sept. 7 had 1,512 fans in attendance, the third-largest crowd in the history of the Volleyball Competition Facility.
It was the largest crowd since 2001 in the building, when 1,793 people packed the stands for the Sept. 21 match against Florida.
The 1,512 fans were nearly 250 over the capacity of the gym in the setup the team utilized starting during SEC play last fall.
Five of the largest crowds in the history of the VCF, including the top two, have come in matches against Florida.
Eight of the 27 crowds over 900 to come to the VCF have been for Florida matches.
Attacking the Record Book
Taylor Bruns is seventh in assists (2,361) and eighth in assists per set (7.24).
Juliette Thévenin stands 15th in SC history with 891 kills and 14th with 2,346 attacks.
With one more kill, Thévenin will tie Belita Salters for 14th. A total of 67 more attacks move Thévenin past Stephanie Pflughaupt for 13th on that list.
Thévenin ranks 19th on the career points chart (as it would stand had everyone played in the rally-scoring era), 8.5 points from becoming the 19th with 1,000 career points.
She's fourth on the points-per-set charts with a 4.22 average.
Thévenin's now second in kills per set (3.79) and 10th in digs per set (2.81) on the career charts.
Paige Wheeler is third on SC's career charts in digs per set (3.57).
With 18 more digs, Wheeler will move past Ivana Kujundzic into 20th on the career dig charts.
Competition Level Rising
The three opponents in the 2012 Carolina Clash held better final 2011 RPIs than all but one of SC's first eight foes.
Clemson finished at 54, UAB 84 and Winthrop 149 in the last RPI of 2011 (Niagara was 146).
Georgia finished 2011 with an RPI of 123; LSU at 66.
Auburn closed last year at 120. Tennessee stood at 14 (South Carolina ended 2011 at 113).
Florida stood 16th, while the Rebels ranked 104th in the final RPI of 2012.
Record-Charting Single-Match Performances
Sophomore Bethanie Thomas's three solo blocks vs. ETSU (8/25) tied for second on the five-set match listing.
Gamecocks in the SEC Stat Superlatives
South Carolina hit the second-highest hitting percentage in four-set match (.370 vs. Niagara) and t in a five-setter (.297 vs. ETSU) for an SEC team this fall.
South Carolina is 719-538 (.572) all-time in volleyball.
In the Volleyball Competition Facility, the team stands at 146-70 (.676).
South Carolina Overview
South Carolina returns four starters and its starting libero from the 2011 team.
That 2011 team, the first coached by Scott Swanson, doubled the win total from the previous year.
The Gamecocks lost almost 50 percent of the team blocks from last season.
The next highest total of "lost" stats are kills, where 32.2 percent departed.
Last season, the Gamecocks led the SEC in digs per set. Only 12.2 percent of those departed.
Eight freshman, including seven true rookies, are a part of the 17-person roster.
Three players hail from each South Carolina and Texas, the most on the team.
A pair of student-athletes both hail from California and Maryland.
Six other states and another country are represented by the seven remaining athletes.
For the 17th-consecutive season, the Gamecocks have had at least one international player.
A total of 16 players have appeared on the court so far. Only freshman Kira Speer has not seen any action and is on track for a redshirt year.
Looking to Change Fortune vs. Ranked Teams
Since 1991, the Gamecocks hold a 8-93 record against ranked opponents. Half of those wins over ranked teams have come against SEC foes, two over a Florida team (1994 and 2006). Also, never has a win over a ranked team come on the road in SEC play. Only once have the Gamecocks won a match against a ranked team at its gym (Notre Dame, 9/14/2003).
Scouting No. 12 Florida
Florida, ranked 12th in the latest AVCA coaches poll, is the last unbeaten team in Southeastern Conference play. The league's top program over the past two decades, the Gators lead the league in hitting percentage and service aces, with sizeable leads in both (.318-.288 in hitting, 1.63-1.40 in aces). Florida, normally a physical team at the net, stands ninth with 2.08 blocks per set.
Freshman Ziva Recek and junior Chloe Mann front the Gator attack, with the duo both averaging over 3.75 kills per set and hitting over .340. Recek, from Slovenia, helps with 1.79 digs per set, while Mann leads the team with 0.94 blocks a frame. Tangerine Wiggs tops the Gators with a .465 hitting percentage, and Betsy Smith contributes 1.97 kills and 0.71 blocks a set. Taylor Brauneis, a transfer from Louisville, guides the attack, averaging 11.43 assists per set. Taylor Unroe leads the Florida passing corps, posting 4.47 digs a frame, and she has 11 aces in 38 sets, tied for the most on the team. Simone Antwi is even with Unroe in aces despite playing in 16 less sets.
The Last Meeting
November 23, 2011
Gamecocks Drop Season Finale at No. 17 Florida in Three
A strong start to the third set for South Carolina (14-16, 5-15 SEC) could not hold off No. 17 Florida (24-5, 17-3 SEC), as the Gators won the match 25-14, 25-16, 25-20 on Thanksgiving Eve in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
Series History vs. the Gators
Florida holds a 45-7 advantage in the series over South Carolina, including a 21-4 mark in Columbia. The last four Gamecock wins in the series came at home, in 1988, 1990, 1994 and 2006. In the Volleyball Competition Facility, the Gamecocks are 1-15 against the Gators.
Scouting Ole Miss
Entering the weekend with a 7-5 record, Ole Miss stands fourth in the SEC with 15.64 digs per set, just above the Gamecocks in the SEC stat rankings. Offensively, the Rebels rank in the bottom four in hitting percentage, kills and assists in the SEC. They are seventh in the league in aces and eighth in blocks.
Setter Amanda Philpot adds a dynamic element to Ole Miss's attack, posting 9.53 assists per set, hitting a team-best .292 and ranking third with 1.91 kills per frame. She's also second in digs (2.56 per set) and fourth among qualifiers in blocks (0.60). Kara Morgan averages 3.27 kills per set and 2.09 digs per frame, best and fourth on the team, while Allegra Wells posts 2.78 kills a stanza. Ashley Veach averages 5.11 digs a frame and 1.29 assists a set. Morgan ranks as the toughest server, with 0.33 per set. Rachael McLamore, third on the team with 2.14 digs per set, stands second in aces with 0.31 a frame. Kellie Goss and Ty Laporte top the Rebels in blocks (0.79 and 0.77 per set, respectively).
Series History vs. the Rebels
South Carolina owns a 24-13 advantage in the series against Mississippi, including a win in Oxford last season. In matches played at the VCF, the Gamecocks are 11-3 against the Rebels. Last year, the teams split, winning on the other's home floor.