South Carolina has posted a better hitting percentage, more kills and more digs than all but five foes in 2012. Four of those in kills and digs and all five in hitting percentage have come in SEC play.
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, four hit over .260.
Only two non-conference opponents hit over .200 against South Carolina: East Tennessee State (.207) and UAB (.285). All six SEC foes have topped that mark.
South Carolina has been out-blocked seven times thus far in 2012 (3-4), 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 ranks as 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.
The Difference Between Winning and Losing
South Carolina hits .311 in matches it wins and .164 in those it loses, a .147 difference.
The opponents when South Carolina wins hit .177. That jumps to .314 if the Gamecocks lose, a .137 gap.
Winning Gamecock matches see SC post 2.49 more digs per set than the opposition. When the foes triumph, the Gamecocks are outdug by 2.4 a frame.
In wins, South Carolina wins the blocking battle by averages of 2.07 to 1.71. In setbacks, the Gamecocks get outblocked 2.73 to 1.47.
Attacking the Record Book
Taylor Bruns is seventh in assists (2,426) and eighth in assists per set (7.29).
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.
Gamecocks in TV Matches
Research dug up the fact that the Gamecocks are 13-15 when the big cameras come out, snapping a six-match TV losing streak last November against Alabama. This will be the 15th appearance by the Gamecocks on a FOX-related regional sports outlet. The historical listing of South Carolina matches on cable or local broadcast TV stations are found in the PDF version of the notes.
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.
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.
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.
Four times, over 1,000 people have packed the VCF for a match, tying the 1996 inaugural year in the building for the most crowds over 1,000.
This 2012 team holds the second-longest winning streak for a Gamecock team since moving into the VCF in 1996, winning 12 straight matches from Nov. 6, 2011 to Sept. 16, 2012.
All three double-digit VCF winning streaks were snapped by Florida, a 17-match span from Oct. 14, 2001 to Oct. 24, 2002, a 10-match stretch from Sept. 13, 2000, to Nov. 10, 2000, and the latest.
Scouting Texas A&M
The Aggies, just outside of the AVCA top-25 poll, bring a 12-2 overall record and a 4-1 league mark into Friday's matchup. In SEC play, Texas A&M has the most kills and assists per set of any league team. Their defense has limited SEC foes to a .186 hitting percentage, second in the league stats, while they have hit .237 themselves in their first five SEC matches.
Alisia Kastmo leads the Aggies with a 3.59 kills average and ranks second on the team with a 0.26 aces average. Tori Mellinger ranks second in both kills (3.07) and digs (3.15). Lindsey Miller tops the team with 1.19 blocks per set and stands third with 2.63 kills a frame. Allie Sawatzky is an active setter, dishing out 9.94 assists a set while also posting 1.98 kills a frame, fourth on the team. Libero Megan Pendergast makes 3.96 digs a set and 0.32 aces a frame, both high marks for the Aggies.
Series History vs. the Aggies
This will be the third meeting in history between South Carolina and Texas A&M, with the Aggies holding a 2-0 advantage heading into Friday's match. The Aggies swept a 1993 contest in Columbia and a second-round NCAA Tournament meeting in 1995.
Gamecock Ties with the Aggies
Former club teammates square off in the match at College Station. Gamecock freshman Jenna Allen played for the same Texas Advantage club team that produced Aggie freshman Shelby Sullivan and senior Stephanie Minnerly. And redshirt sophomore Cara Howley can catch up with two fellow former Skyline club members, senior Tori Mellinger and freshman Kate Praslicka.
And the Gamecock travelling volleyball staff may get to say hello to former South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman and chief of staff Marcy Girton, who now have those same roles at Texas A&M.
Going into Wednesday's contest against Georgia, LSU is 6-9 on the season, splitting the last two weekends of SEC play with two five-set wins over Kentucky and Mississippi State. Back-row defense is LSU's best asset, according to the SEC-only stats, as the Tigers rank fourth with 16.77 digs per set. SEC foes are hitting .237 against LSU, the 10th-best mark in the league, and the Tigers have recorded only 0.85 aces a set in league play, 11th in the SEC.
Desiree Elliott, Madie Jones and Helen Boyle power the LSU offense, with the trio all averaging over 3.2 kills a set in SEC action. Elliott (0.85 bps) and Khourtni Fears anchor the block, with Fears leading the team with her 1.12 blocks per set this season. Setter Malorie Pardo does not attack often, with only 68 tries in 54 sets, but she does send out 9.89 assists a frame. Pardo also ranks as the toughest active server, posting 0.28 aces a set. Sam Delahoussaye, stepping into the libero role, averages 3.24 digs a set overall and 4.42 in SEC play.
The Last Meeting
September 16, 2012
South Carolina Wins Five-Set Thriller over LSU, Now 13-0
A roller-coaster ride of a match saw South Carolina (13-0, 2-0 SEC) come back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat LSU (4-7, 0-2 SEC) in five sets, 25-18, 26-28, 16-25, 25-18, 15-12, in front of 839 fans on Sunday afternoon in the Volleyball Competition Facility, extending the season-opening win streak to a program-best 13 matches.
Series History vs. the Tigers
LSU holds a 18-13 lead in the all-time series that began when South Carolina entered the SEC. At home, the Gamecocks snapped a seven-match Tiger winning streak three weeks ago. When playing in Baton Rouge, LSU has a 9-6 advantage, including a six-match skein dating back to the 2006 season.
Gamecock Ties with the Tigers
Four Gamecocks can greet former club teammates: Jaclynn Gerig and Taylor Bruns (Illini Elite), Madie Jones, Meghan Manneri and Cara Howley (Skyline) and Cati Leak and Bethanie Thomas (Rocket City).