Nov. 9, 2009
|Reaction & Interviews
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The SEC Champion South Carolina women’s soccer team has earned its third consecutive invitation to the NCAA Tournament and will host the first and second rounds of the tournament at Stone Stadium this weekend. The Gamecocks (17-3-2) earned the first national seed in program history and will face Davidson (12-9-1) Friday at 7 p.m.
Rutgers (13-3-4) and Duke (8-8-4) will face each other in the other first round match Friday with kickoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The winners of the two matches will faceoff Sunday afternoon (Time TBA). Ticket prices for the games will be announced later in the week as South Carolina returns home to “The Graveyard” where the team went 9-0-0 this season.
“I’m so glad that we got a home game,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “Getting a No. 2 seed is tremendous recognition for our program and the respect we’ve earned. To be in the Southeast and earn a No. 2 seed is tremendous. I’m so excited. We’ve been very good at home. I like our chances there, and the team is excited to be back playing at `The Graveyard’.”
South Carolina earned the No. 2 seed in the North Carolina regional to earn the program’s fourth overall and third consecutive bid to the postseason. In the past two trips, the Gamecocks earned a tie against Duke in the 2007 first round match before falling in penalty kicks, and the team dropped a 3-2 overtime match to William & Mary in the 2008 first round.
“Every year we’ve been sitting on the edge of our seats hoping to get into the tournament,” Smith said. “Today was much more enjoyable. It’s a tough one, but we are excited with our draw. We’re glad the NCAA committee honored us with that home bid.”
Davidson earned the program’s first bid to the NCAA Tournament after defeating College of Charleston 1-0 in overtime to claim the Southern Conference championship. The team is riding an eight-game unbeaten streak. South Carolina holds a 6-2 series advantage against the Wildcats. The teams haven’t played since Carolina earned a 4-1 win Sept. 17, 2003.
Rutgers is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance and third in the last four years. Ranked No. 12 in the nation last week, the Scarlet Knights earned an at-large bid after falling in the Big EAST quarterfinals.
Duke earned its seventh straight NCAA bid as one of the top teams historically in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference. The Blue Devils earned an at-large bid after falling in the ACC quarterfinals.
The four No. 1 seeds in the tournament are Stanford, North Carolina, UCLA and Florida State. Joining South Carolina as No. 2 seeds are Boston College, Portland and Notre Dame. Six teams from the SEC made the tournament.