Alumni weekend, Halloween costume contest among activities lined up for the weekend
Junior libero Paige Wheeler
Oct. 25, 2012
Gamecocks' Weekend Schedule
Fri., Oct. 26 vs. Auburn | 7 p.m. EDT | Gametracker | Live Video | @GamecockVolley
Friday's promotions: Trick or Treat with the Gamecocks, including a costume contest
Sun., Oct. 28 vs. Texas A&M | 1:30 p.m. EDT | Gametracker | Live Video | @GamecockVolley
Sunday's promotions: Active Gamecocks match, South Carolina State Employees Recognition Day, where all state employees with ID get $1 for themselves and family members
2012 SC VB Notes (10/25)
2012 SC VB Stats (as of 10/21)
South Carolina Team Notes
- The Gamecocks celebrate Alumni Weekend during the two matches, including recognizing the returning players during Friday night's match against Auburn.
- Out of the six hitters who have played in half the sets and averaged at least one kill per set, three hit over .280 (Thévenin, Howley and Dozier).
- The Gamecocks are undefeated when they win the blocking battle (8-0).
- 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.
- In Mississippi, the Gamecocks only gave up four points in the service game (two service errors at Mississippi State, one ace at both MSU and Ole Miss).
- Sunday's match against the Rebels was the first all year the team did not give up a service error.
- Four teams went undefeated in the opening weekend of SEC play: Florida, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
- Only two non-conference opponents hit over .200 against South Carolina: East Tennessee State (.207) and UAB (.285). In 10 of the 11 SEC matches, the foes have topped that mark.
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 & Losing
- South Carolina hits .319 in matches it wins and .170 in those it loses, a .159 difference.
- The opponents when South Carolina wins hit .169. That jumps to .333 if the Gamecocks lose, a .164 gap.
- Winning Gamecock matches see SC post 2.75 more digs per set than the opposition. When the foes triumph, the Gamecocks are outdug by 2.32 a frame.
- In wins, South Carolina wins the blocking battle by averages of 2.06 to 1.61. In setbacks, the Gamecocks get outblocked 2.79 to 1.43.
- Serve reception has been the same statistically in both wins and losses, with opponents averaging 0.9 aces a set in both results.
Attacking the Record Book
- Taylor Bruns is sixth in assists (2,618), passing Shellie Higgins with her 37 assists at Coastal Carolina, and Bruns is eighth in assists per set (7.44) in Gamecock history.
- Juliette Thévenin stands 13th in SC history with 981 kills and 10th with 2,569 attacks.
- A mere 41 kills separates Thévenin from advancing into 12th in kills past Megan Laughlin.
- Thévenin ranks 17th on the career points chart (as it would stand had everyone played in the rally-scoring era) with 1,086.
- She's fourth on the points-per-set charts with a 4.21 average.
- Thévenin's now second in kills per set (3.80) and 10th in digs per set (2.80) on the career charts.
- Despite a tough trip through Mississippi, Cara Howley now stands 13th on the career hitting percentage charts (.254)
- Paige Wheeler's 891 digs stands 17th on the career dig charts, 22 behind Caryn Case.
- Paige Wheeler is third on SC's career charts in digs per set (3.58).
Record-Charting Single-Match Performances
- Sophomore Bethanie Thomas's three solo blocks vs. ETSU (8/25) tied for second on the program's five-set match listing.
Gamecocks in the SEC Stat Superlatives
- South Carolina hit the third-highest hitting percentage in four-set match (.370 vs. Niagara) and the second-best in a five-setter (.297 vs. ETSU) for an SEC team this fall.
- The team's .419 hitting percentage against UNC Asheville ranks ninth in the overall SEC match performances.
- Cara Howley's five aces at Mississippi State tied for the most for an SEC player in a three-set match and for second in any match length this year.
- In SEC matches only, Juliette Thévenin has the third-most kills in a three-set match this year (18 vs. Georgia and LSU) and the fourth-most in a four-set contest (22 vs. Auburn).
- Thévenin also stands second (20.5 vs. Georgia) in points in a sweep this year in an SEC match.
- South Carolina is 721-543 (.570) all-time in volleyball.
- In the Volleyball Competition Facility, the team stands at 146-72 (.670).
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).
- In the fourth RPI report from the NCAA (Oct. 22), the Gamecocks ranked 82nd.
- South Carolina beat top 100 RPI teams Clemson (67), Georgia (51) and LSU (70).
- Seven of the eight losses came against top-80 RPI teams (Auburn 65, Tennessee 16, Florida 10, Ole Miss twice 78, Texas A&M 27, LSU 70).
- 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.
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 leading attacker by kills, junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, is back.
- The top defender by digs, junior libero Paige Wheeler, returns.
- Setters Taylor Bruns and Lexie Pawlik make up the vast majority of the 97 percent of assists back.
- 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.
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.
Losers of six of their last seven, the Auburn Tigers are 13-8 on the year but 4-7 in SEC play. All seven losses could be called quality in the league, coming to the top eight teams entering the weekend. Auburn's defense has been its strength, holding opponents in the SEC to a .187 hitting percentage, which is third in the league, helped by its 2.69 blocks and 17.02 digs per set, both also third. Offensively, the Tigers struggle, standing 12th in hitting percentage (.199). And they land just 0.80 aces a set in SEC outings.
Sarah Bullock leads the way with 3.41 kills per set this season, and she adds 3.23 digs per set. Katherine Culwell stands second in kills with a 2.96 per-set average. Camila Jersonsky leads the team in hitting percentage (.362) and blocking (1.15 per set), while she tallies 2.41 kills per set. Courtney McDonald is strong as the other middle blocker with 0.92 blocks per set. Sarah Wroblicky digs 4.42 attacks a frame in the off-colored jersey. And setters Chelsea Wintzinger (6.07 assists per set) and Ciara Richards (5.19 assists per set) guide the offense. Richards ranks as the biggest serving threat, posting 0.28 aces a frame.
Series History vs. the Tigers
South Carolina owns a 21-12 advantage in the all-time series against the Tigers, including a 10-6 mark in Columbia. When looking at games in the Volleyball Competition Facility, that mark improves to 9-2 for SC against Auburn. The Gamecocks look to win at home to force a series split for the second-consecutive year.
Scouting Texas A&M
The co-leader of the SEC West, Texas A&M enters Friday's match at LSU on a three-match losing streak, dropping three straight to the beasts of the SEC East Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida. The Aggies are efficient in all areas of the game, ranking fourth in both hitting percentage and opponents hitting percentage in SEC play. They are second in the league in kills and tied for first in assists. The blocking and serving numbers don't scare, however, ranking eighth and ninth in conference matches only, respectively.
Alisia Kastmo powers the Texas A&M offense, posting 3.57 kills per set. Tori Mellinger stands second on the team in both kills (2.93 per set) and digs (3.10 per set). Lindsey Miller stands third in kills and leads the Aggies with 1.06 blocks a frame. Allie Sawatzky ranks as one of the more active setters in the SEC, compiling 9.78 assists and 1.80 kills a set. Megan Pendergast leads both the backline defense (3.85 digs per set) and the serving group (0.29 aces a set).
Series History vs. the Aggies
This will be the fourth meeting in history between South Carolina and Texas A&M, with the Aggies having won the first three, including the meeting on the first Friday of this month in College Station. The Aggies are making their second trip to Columbia and their first to the VCF.