SEC announces fall volleyball schedule
The Southeastern Conference announced the fall volleyball schedule for the 2020 season Wednesday afternoon. South Carolina will face regional rivals Georgia and Tennessee on the road and play host to Auburn and Florida.
The 2020 SEC volleyball season consists of an eight-match, conference-only schedule over six weeks of competition beginning the weekend of October 16. South Carolina will face its four opponents twice in the same weekend on back-to-back days. The schedule includes the week of Nov. 23-27 at the end of the season for any makeup matches for all schools.
“I do think it’s nice to know what lies ahead of us now. We have a lot of players who have been stepping up in practice, eager to make an impact and we’re excited to see them in meaningful matches,” said head coach Tom Mendoza. “It’s a manageable season from a travel standpoint. We’re facing four great teams, and playing back-to-back is a good way to maximize our competition season.”
The fall season begins on the road when the Gamecocks head to Athens to face Georgia on Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18. The two teams have enjoyed a spirited rivalry in recent years, with four of the last five meetings going the full five sets and each team taking two of those showdowns.
The home opener welcomes in Auburn for matches on Oct. 28 and 29. The Tigers are under the direction of first-year head coach Brent Crouch and are looking to snap South Carolina’s three-game win streak in the series – the longest streak for the Gamecocks over the Tigers since 2008.
South Carolina opens the month of November on the road with matches on Nov. 6-7 at Tennessee. The Gamecocks have been victorious in five of the last six matches in the series, but the lone loss in that stretch came in the last meeting on Rocky Top.
The fall season wraps up Nov. 11-12 back in the Carolina Volleyball Center, when the Gamecocks host Florida for a pair of midweek matches. Four of the team’s seven total wins over the Gators have come at home, and in the last matchup in the CVC between the two sides it came down to a five-set decision.
“It’s four good teams we’ll be facing, I think SEC volleyball is in a really good place right now,” Mendoza said. “Georgia has been our most competitive matches over the last few years and that’ll be an exciting way to kick off the season. Auburn is a talented team and with a new staff we know they’re going to be excited to get this season rolling.
“Tennessee has been a lot like Georgia, we’ve been trading off wins and battling each other for spots in the standings in the past and this year will be no different. It will be a fun way to cap the fall season when we host Florida in our gym, we’ve played them really competitively in the past on our home court.”
Volleyball’s fall home events will have a reduced seating capacity that does not allow for general admission ticketing. Based on the Sporting Event Exemption plan that was approved by the Department of Commerce in July, the CVC is permitted to open with a reduced capacity, but it will not be able to accommodate outside fan attendance.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to keep our student-athletes safe and ensure we’re able to complete this fall season,” Mendoza said. “We’ve seen with pro sports leagues already that there has been success with limiting fan capacity and keeping the exposure to a minimum, especially as an indoor sport.
“Unfortunately, that will come at the expense of what makes the Carolina Volleyball Center great – the atmosphere from our fans and the Carolina Volleyball Band,” Mendoza added. “There’s no question we’re going to miss that energy from our fans, but it was a sacrifice that had to be made. Whether it’s in the spring or next fall, we’re going to be excited to reunite with our fans.”
SEC volleyball teams will participate in spring competition as well, with details of formats contingent on final decisions by the NCAA to conduct spring championships in those sports.
The full listing of game times and TV broadcast updates will be announced as they become available. For more detailed information on the schedule as well as Gamecock Athletics’ policies as it relates to game day plans and operational changes due to COVID-19, continue to visit GamecocksOnline.com.