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Dec. 8, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – After finishing the 2009 season as a national seed and advancing to the NCAA Round of 16, the South Carolina women’s soccer team holds a final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) ranking of No. 9 in the nation, the organization announced Tuesday.

The ranking marks the first time that South Carolina has finished a season ranked in the top 10. The Gamecocks were preceded in the poll by national champion North Carolina, followed by Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame and Portland in the top five. Florida State comes in at No. 6 with Boston College (No. 7), Wake Forest (No. 8) and Santa Clara (No. 10) rounding out the top 10.

Head Coach Shelley Smith guided South Carolina (19-4-2, 7-3-1 SEC) to school records for conference (seven) and overall (19) victories this season en route to earning SEC Coach of the Year honors. The Gamecocks earned the program’s first SEC Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year. South Carolina finished the year with the nation’s ninth-ranked defense with 15 shutouts and a 0.548 goals against average.