Courtesy: Lee Jakobsen
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Cougars Travel To SoCon Tournament With Title Hopes
Release: 11/15/2012
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DAVIDSON, N.C. - The College of Charleston will travel to Davidson, N.C. for the 2012 Southern Conference Volleyball tournament as the two seed out of the South Division after finishing the regular season at 23-7 and 14-2 in conference. CofC will open the tournament with a 4:30 p.m. quarterfinal match versus Chattanooga on Saturday afternoon.

The Cougars won their last five matches of the regular season and split the season series with Georgia Southern and Furman, the one and three seeds in the SoCon South.

In 12 SoCon Tournaments, the Cougars are 25-6 all-time with six championship titles, more than any other league program despite just joining the Southern Conference in 1998. The Cougars last won the tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, when CofC defeated Furman in the championship match.

College of Charleston has won either the SoCon regular season or tournament championship every year since 2001, for 11 consecutive league championships.

The Cougars have advanced to the title match of the conference tournament for 10 straight seasons, a streak that currently ranks second in the nation behind American's 11 consecutive appearances out of the Patriot League.

"We've been focusing on siding out on first contact," head coach Jason Kepner said. "If we can do that consistently throughout the weekend then we're going to be successful. Chattanooga plays great defense so we have to be efficient with our attacking and not get into a lot of long rallies with them."

The Southern Conference website ( will host live streaming video and live stats through the first two rounds of the tournament. The championship match will be broadcast on ESPN3 and through the WatchESPN app.

Free streaming radio will be available for every Charleston match on Cory Zalewski will be handling the play-by-play with Will Bryan doing color commentary. Fans can always follow live action and get post-match results on the volleyball twitter account: @cofcvolleyball.

College of Charleston is 25-9 against Chattanooga all-time including a 3-0 sweep of the Mocs earlier this year. The Cougars outhit Chattanooga .333-.097 in the win, with Darcy Dorton making 14 kills and 16 digs. College of Charleston is 6-0 against the Mocs in SoCon Tournament action.

Chattanooga enters the postseason after defeating Appalachian State to secure the third seed in the tournament. The Mocs have struggled against the top four overall seeds of the tournament this year, posting a 1-5 record against Georgia Southern, College of Charleston, Samford and Elon.

The Mocs' biggest strength has been their defense led by Paula Passmore who ranks second in the nation with 6.38 digs per set. As a team, Chattanooga leads the SoCon with 18.24 digs per set.

College of Charleston finished the regular season with an NCAA RPI of 70, the highest rank in the Southern Conference. The Division winners, Georgia Southern (76) and Samford (111) each ranked behind the Cougars.

Several CofC opponents in the RPI Top 50 include Kansas (7), N.C. State (43), Michigan State (38) and Arizona State (39).

Past CofC RPI Finishes (Rank In SoCon)
2011 - 66 (3)
2010 - 65 (1)
2009 - 82 (2)
2008 - 72 (2)

College of Charleston kill leader Darcy Dorton ranks 34nd in the country in kills per set with 4.25, the second-best average in the Southern Conference. Senior Emily Shelton is currently third in the SoCon with 5.25 digs per set, ranking 37th nationally. In conference-only statistics, Kerstin Koehler is second with an attack percentage of .336.

As a team, the Cougars rank 37th in kills (14.08) and 52nd in digs (16.88) in the country.

Conference kill leader Darcy Dorton was named All-SoCon First Team, while Sloane White was tabbed for the All-SoCon Second Team and Melissa Morello made the All-SoCon Freshman team.

The Cougars have now had at least one player on the All-SoCon First Team in every season dating back to 1999. Since that year, the Cougars have placed 28 players on the First Team, more than any other SoCon program in the same time frame.

A native of Muncie, Ind., Dorton led the team with 4.25 kills per set and averaged 4.45 kills against SoCon opponents, the top mark in the league. Dorton reached 20 kills on six occasions and posted 14 double-doubles this season as she averaged 2.85 digs per set. She reached her season high of 23 kills on two occasions, against Sacramento State (8/24) and at Western Carolina (10/21).

White finished fourth in the league in hitting percentage against conference foes (.334) and tallied 285 kills at 2.77 per set, overall. A native of Indianapolis, Ind., White finished third on the team in blocks with 57, and was second on the team in service aces with 16.

In addition to being named the SoCon Freshman of the Year, White was also on last year's All-SoCon Second Team and All-SoCon Freshman team. She was the only Cougar named to the 2012 Preseason All-Conference list.

Hailing from Milwaukee, Wis., Morello emerged as a starter several weeks into the season after her breakout 11-kill, 12-dig performance against Georgetown. She then reached double figures in kills for eight of the next nine matches. Morello tallied six double-doubles this season and averaged 2.41 kills/set and 2.16 digs/set.

She was named the SoCon Freshman of the Week in Week 5 of the season.

Senior Emily Shelton became just the 2nd player in CofC history to reach 2,000 digs for her career with 16 digs at Wofford on Nov. 2. Her 2,057 career digs is currently 2nd among active back row players in the Southern Conference, trailing only Chattanooga's Paula Passmore who has 2,308 career digs.

Shelton has averaged 4.17 digs per set over her career which also ranks second in school history.

Penn State transfer Darcy Dorton has not only become a team leader, but she's also making her mark on the CofC record books. She has only failed to get to 10 kills while playing three sets twice, and has reached 20 kills on six occasions. She has also posted 14 double-doubles as she has averaged 2.85 digs per set.

Dorton is currently second in the Southern Conference with an average of 4.25 kills per set. Dorton is tied for third in the all-time CofC records for average kills despite playing in the 25-point era.

CofC All-Time Kills Per Game In One Season

1. 5.04 - Suzanne Lowry (1992)
2. 4.66 - Alyson VanCleave (2000)
T-3. 4.25 - Darcy Dorton (2012)
3. 4.25 - Suzanna Lowry (1991)
5. 4.15 - Stephanie Ballard (2003)

A distinct leadership group emerged in the SoCon this season with College of Charleston, Georgia Southern, Furman and Samford breaking away from the rest of the pack. Those four boast an impressive 53-11 in conference play.

Furman's two losses to Elon and Wofford without star player Natalie Braun mark the only two losses among the top four that didn't come from one of the other three.

One of these four teams have one every SoCon tournament title dating back to 2000 when Davidson won the championship.

The College of Charleston Cougars have appeared in the SoCon Tournament championship match in every season since 2002. In the years that the Cougars won the championship, they were 4-1 in the venue earlier in the regular season. In the years that they lost, they were 0-2 at the venue.

The 2012 SoCon Championship will be held at Davidson's Belk Arena. The Cougars recently swept Davidson 3-0 on September 30.

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