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Nov. 19, 2009


Message From Coach Smith

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 8 South Carolina (19-3-2) and No. 14 Wake Forest (15-5-2) will meet Friday at 7 p.m. in NCAA Third Round action at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium in Columbia, S.C. The teams are vying for the rights to compete in the Elite Eight next weekend.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth (17 and under), students, faculty and staff. The first 350 students will be admitted free courtesy of the Anderson County Gamecock Club and the Courtyard Marriott on Assembly Street. Students must enter at the Whaley Street entrance of Stone Stadium. The free student tickets sold out in both games last weekend, so students are encouraged to arrive early. Gates open at 6 p.m.

“The Anderson County Gamecock Club is proud to support the women’s soccer program by encouraging as many students as possible to attend the Third Round NCAA Tournament game vs. Wake Forest this Friday at Eugene Stone Stadium,” Anderson County Gamecock Club President Jason Craddock said. “By encouraging the students to attend, the Gamecocks will ensure a tremendous home field advantage that is well deserved as they attempt to advance to the quarterfinals!”

South Carolina had the largest attendance for the NCAA First/Second round games last weekend as more than 6,500 fans watched the Gamecocks defeat Davidson and Rutgers. The Stone Stadium record crowd of 3,813 that watched the 4-0 win against Davidson was the largest crowd of any game in the nation last weekend. Pack Stone Stadium with a sea of garnet Friday night as South Carolina attempts to break the 4,000 fan barrier.

South Carolina’s won its first NCAA Tournament game last Friday with its 4-0 win against Davidson and advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time by defeating Rutgers 1-0. Playing in its third consecutive tournament and first time as a national seed (No. 2), the Gamecocks impove to 2-2-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games. The first bid came in a 2-0 loss at Charlotte in 1998 when the Gamecocks went 11-6-1 in the regular season. In 2007, Carolina earned an at-large bid with a 14-6-2 record when the Gamecocks played Duke to a 1-1 draw at Athens, Ga. Duke advanced with a 4-1 edge in penalty kicks. In 2008, South Carolina dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to William & Mary at Durham, N.C.

No. 14 Wake Forest comes into Friday’s matchup with a 15-5-2 record after finishing fifth in the unforgiving ACC at 5-3-2. The Demon Deacons posted shutouts in both opening round matches last week, defeating Kennesaw State 2-0 and West Virginia 3-0 at Spry Stadium. The Deacons are led by a pair of senior forwards in Jill Hutchinson (14g, 3a, 31p) and Kaley Fountain (10g, 10a, 30p), but junior midfielder Casey Luckhurst was the star last weekend by scoring her first three career goals. In the net, junior Amanda Barasha sports a 0.70 goals against average with six shutouts in 1278 minutes, and senior Laura Morse has a 0.94 goals against average with three shutouts in 765 minutes.

South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith earned her 100th victory as head coach of the Gamecocks in Sunday’s win against Rutgers. In her ninth season in Columbia, she sports a 100-65-24 record. Her all-time coaching record is 141-100-26 which includes her 41-35-2 record while coaching Rhode Island for four seasons.

Junior Brooke Jacobs annually saves some of her best games for the NCAA Tournament and has scored a first half goal in each of Carolina’s last three tournament games. The Chambersburg, Pa., native had a breakout game against William & Mary in the 2007 first round by knocking in Carolina’s first goal and adding an assist. The striker matched the effort last Friday by scoring the first goal of the game and adding an assist against Davidson. She then scored a first half goal to defeat Rutgers on Sunday. Her eight points in NCAA matches are a school record.

South Carolina’s 19 wins are tied for third in the country behind the top two teams in this week’s national polls: #1 Stanford (22) and #2 Portland (20). UCLA, North Carolina and Notre Dame are the teams that have 19 wins this season along with the Gamecocks.

South Carolina has been nearly unstoppable at Stone Stadium the past three seasons, posting a 33-2-5 record at home since 2006. The streak included a 15-game unbeaten streak from Aug. 31, 2006-Oct. 5, 2007 and a 13-game unbeaten streak at “The Graveyard” from Oct. 19, 2007-Oct. 23, 2008. The lone blemishes on the record are a double-overtime loss to Vanderbilt (Oct. 7, 2007) and a loss to #7 Florida (Oct. 30, 2008). The season opening win against College of Charleston was Coach Shelley Smith’s 50th win at Stone Stadium. Carolina is a perfect 10-0-0 at Stone Stadium this season.

South Carolina finished the regular season tied for eighth in the nation with 12 shutouts on the year with only 10 goals allowed. Junior goalkeeper Mollie Patton has held the national lead in all three goalkeeping categories for the majority of the season. Going into Friday’s round of 16 match, she is third in the nation with 15 solo shutouts and ranks ninth nationally with a 0.50 goals against average.

Senior defender Blakely Mattern continues to pick up honors in her final season as a Gamecock. A Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist, Mattern has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week twice, was selected to the Soccer America National Team of the Week four times, earned Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week honors once and has also earned Primetime Player of the Week honors twice. In addition, she is a first team Academic All-American for the second consecutive year and has earned NSCAA national player of the week honors this year.

Noted as one of the top defensive teams in the country under Shelley Smith, South Carolina has continued that excellence this season and added a little offensive flair as well. The Gamecocks have the NCAA’s eighth-ranked defense with a 0.53 goals against average and 15 shutouts. The team is also No. 34 in scoring offense (2.00 goals/game). With that type of production, South Carolina is also at the top of the SEC lists in half of the statistical categories. The team leads the conference in goals allowed, goals against average, shutouts, shots allowed, shots on goal allowed, points allowed and shot on goal percentage.

Senior Kim Miller has been one of the most consistent performers for South Carolina the past four years, and the New York native has stretched that consistency to another part of her game in her final season. Miller is 12th in the NCAA and second in the SEC with 11 assists so far this season, and she currently has the Carolina record with five game winning goals this season.