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Feb. 5, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina women’s soccer program has announced that 11 student-athletes will join the Gamecocks in the 2010 season. The list includes players with national team experience in Canada and Mexico, five regional Olympic Development Program members, three Interregional participants, a TopDrawerSoccer Top 100 recruit, two NSCAA All-Region selections and two adidas ESP Camp selections.

“We are excited about the arrival of this freshman class who will be giving us the lift we need after losing five senior starters from our 2009 team,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “The returning players have experienced what it takes to win a championship and compete as a top 25 program. They are working hard to lift their play and build on the success of the 2009 season. With that comes high expectations for the 2010 class to push those returning and to compete to fill those starting roles right away. I have confidence that we will see many of the players in this class making contributions right away.”

The Gamecocks finished the 2009 campaign with a 19-4-2 record, earning the program’s first SEC Tournament title and third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid. Smith guided South Carolina to school records for conference (seven) and overall (19) victories in a season en route to earning SEC and NSCAA South Region Coach of the Year honors. The Gamecocks finished the year with the nation’s ninth-ranked defense with 15 shutouts and a 0.548 goals against average. The team returns four juniors, 13 sophomores and six freshmen including honorable mention All-American Kayla Grimsley and All-Region selection Mollie Patton.

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Time Name Pos. Hgt. Hometown Last School
10:34 a.m. Kelsey Barr D 5-5 Douglasville, Ga. Chapel Hill
10:56 a.m. Taylor Leach D 5-10 Maumee, Ohio Anthony Wayne
11:00 a.m. Kayla Paoulos F 5-7 Buffalo Grove, Ill. Buffalo Grove
11:33 a.m. Katrina Frost D/M 5-5 Fayetteville, Ga. Starrs Mill
11:33 a.m. Elizabeth Sinclair M 5-8 St. Louis, Mo. Cor Jesu Academy
12:45 p.m. Danielle Au F 5-5 Suwanee, Ga. North Gwinnett
3:25 p.m. Maureen Buff M 5-5 Lilburn, Ga. Parkview
3:32 p.m. Samantha McGowan F 5-9 Essex, Ontario, Canada Ecole Secondaire L’Essor
3:32 p.m. Samantha Gonzalez M 5-6 Kyle, Texas Jack C. Hays
4:49 p.m. Gabby Gilbert D 5-8 Mississauga, Ontario, Canada St. Marcellinus Secondary
9:38 a.m. (Fri) Lauren Hyden D 5-4 Gainesville, Fla. Buchholz

Danielle Au
Forward – Freshman – 5-5
Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett)

PRE-COLLEGE: ESPN Rise magazine honorable mention All-American (2009) … Two-time NSCAA High School All-Region (2008-09) … Region III ODP camp (2004-09) … Region III ODP team (2009) … ODP Winter Interregional (2009) … Georgia ODP team starting forward (2003-09) … Scored 79 goals in three years at North Gwinnett … Georgia Student-Athlete of the Year (2008) … All-Gwinnett County first team (2008-09) … Gwinnett County Player of the Year (2008) … Played for Atlanta Fire club team … Four-time state champion (2004, 2006-08) … Three-time Super Cup champion (2001, 2006-07) … South Regional Champion Series semifinalist (2006-07).

PERSONAL: Full name is Danielle Kawen Au … Majoring in international business … Chose USC over Georgia, Kentucky, Auburn, Clemson, Indiana and Georgetown … Sister (Samantha) played soccer at Kentucky from 2007-09 … Parents are David and Michelle Au.

WHY USC?: South Carolina has an outstanding international business program and a terrific study environment and soccer program. Most of all, it’s close to home.

Kelsey Barr
Defender – Freshman – 5-5
Douglasville, Ga. (Chapel Hill)

PRE-COLLEGE: Six-year member of Georgia ODP team (2004-09) … Region III ODP team (2009) … Five-year member of Region III camp (2005-09) … Participated in 2009 Winter Interregional … Two-time high school team captain … Female Soccer Player of the Year for Douglas County … Named school’s Wendy’s High school Heisman selection … Played for AFC Lightning club team … Club team was three-time Region III Premier League winner (2006-07, 2009) … Ranked No. 1 in the nation after winning the 2008 Disney Showcase … 2009 Region III finalist … 2008 Region III semifinalist … Earned Georgia High School Merit Award for holding a career 4.0 grade point average.

PERSONAL: Full name is Kelsey Paradise Barr … Majoring in business … Chose USC over Miami, Ole Miss and Alabama … Born July 10, 1992 … Has an older brother, Jason … Parents are Joy Paradise and Scott Barr.

WHY USC?: South Carolina was exactly what I was looking for – an SEC Division I school with a competitive soccer team and a similar focus on academics. The coaches truly care about their players and the team welcomed you as if you already belonged. I immediately took a liking to the campus, and knew I was supposed to spend my next four years here.

Maureen Buff
Midfielder – Freshman – 5-5
Lilburn, Ga. (Parkview)

PRE-COLLEGE: Four-time ODP Region III camp selection (2005-08) … ESPN Rise magazine All-Area (2009-10) … NSCAA All-Region (2009) … First Team All-County (2009) … ODP Regional finalist (2009) … Three-time high school region champion (2007-09) … Three-time state champion (2007-09) … Team ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2008 … Played for GSA Phoenix club team … Five-time state champion (2004-07, 2009) … 2009 Region III champion … Finished third at nationals … Three-time scholar athlete (2007-09) and accepted into South Carolina Honors College.

PERSONAL: Full name is Maureen Jessica Buff … Undecided major … Chose USC over Samford … Born January 2, 1992 … Has two brothers and one sister … Sister (Monica) played soccer at Vanderbilt … Parents are Arthur and Virginia Buff.

WHY USC?: South Carolina is a great school with a lot of majors and an awesome soccer team.

Katrina Frost
Defender/Midfielder – Freshman – 5-5
Fayetteville, Ga. (Starrs Mill)

PRE-COLLEGE: TopDrawerSoccer National Top 100 Recruit … Top Drawer Soccer South Atlantic Region Top 5 Recruit … Three-year member of Region III ODP team (2006-07, 2009) … Four-time member of Region III ODP pool (2006-09) … National Camp participant (2005-06) … 2007 Region III team captain … Eight-year member of Georgia ODP team (2001-09) … Three-time participant in Interregionals (Thanksgiving in 2006-07, Winter in 2009) … 2009 U-17 National Camp in Germany … 2008 Region III trip to Italy … Three-time All-County selection (2007-09) … Three-time First Team All-Conference selection (2007-09) … Named high school 2007 most valuable offensive player and 2009 most valuable defensive player … Georgia state finalist in 2007 and semifinalist in 2009 … Played for AFC Lightning club team … Club team was three-time Region III Premier League winner (2006-07, 2009) … 2009 Region tournament finalist.

PERSONAL: Full name is Katrina Marie Frost … Majoring in psychology … Chose USC over Boston College, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Clemson, Navy and College of Charleston … Born January 4, 1992 … Has an older sister, Viktoria, played soccer at Berry College (Ga.) … Parents are Gary and Martina Frost.

WHY USC?: South Carolina has what I want academically and is a great soccer program.

Gabby Gilbert
Defender – Freshman – 5-8
Mississauga, Ontario (St. Marcellinus Secondary)

PRE-COLLEGE: Canadian National Training Center (NTCO) Player Pool (2008-09) … Member of Ontario Provincial Team (2006-08) … Ontario U-18 Team for Canada Games (2009) … Gold medal with Ontario Indoor Cup U-18 team (2008, 2010) … U-16 Canadian National All-Star gold medal with Ontario Provincial team (2008) … U-16 Canadian National Club bronze medal with Burlington Sting (2008) … Played for Mississauga Falcons FC club team … High school team MVP (2007) … Maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout high school.

PERSONAL: Full name is Gabrielle Anne Gilbert … Majoring in biology … Chose USC over Iowa, Rhode Island and Columbia … Born November 10, 1992 … Has a brother, Jared … Father (Gordon) played tennis at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario … Mother (Lorraine) ran track at Houston … Parents are Gordon and Lorraine Gilbert.

WHY USC?: I wanted to go to a top D1 school with a great atmosphere and an awesome soccer program. When I visited USC, I saw right away that it had those qualities. I knew USC was right for me.

Samantha Gonzalez
Midfielder – Freshman – 5-6
Kyle, Texas (Jack C. Hays)

PRE-COLLEGE: Member of U20 Mexican National Team … Played for Mexico U-17 in World Cup qualifying … U-15 national finalist (2008) … First Team All-District (2006-08) … All-CENTEX second team (2006-07) … Played for Lonestar FC club team … USYSA Region III and national champions (2008) … Premier League (2009) … Western District Spring Championships (2008-09) … Two-time district champions (2006-07).

PERSONAL: Full name is Samantha Andrea Gonzalez … Undecided major … Born September 20, 1992 … Has a brother, Estefan … Parents are Rudy and Beverly D. Gonzalez.

WHY USC?: During my visit, everything fit perfectly. South Carolina has great coaches, great girls, a great school, a great soccer program, a home-like environment and academics that excels in many fields.

Lauren Hyden
Defender – Freshman – 5-4
Gainesville, Fla. (F.W. Buchholz)

PRE-COLLEGE: TopDrawerSoccer Florida Top 20 Recruit … Participated in Adidas ESP Camp (2007-08) … Four-year member of Florida state and Region III ODP team (2005-08) … National Pool player (2006) … Participated in 2007 Costa Rica Interregional and 2006 Thanksgiving Interregional … Played for First Coast KYX club team … Regional Finalist (2007) … Two-time state semifinalist (2007, 2009) … Regional Champion (2008).

PERSONAL: Full name is Lauren Hyden … Majoring in exercise science … Chose USC over Florida and Tennessee … Born December 3, 1991 … Has two older brothers … Father is Russ Hyden.

WHY USC?: I chose South Carolina because I felt comfortable the moment I stepped on campus. The players and coaches make it a great atmosphere.

Taylor Leach
Defender – Freshman – 5-10
Maumee, Ohio (Anthony Wayne)

PRE-COLLEGE: Two-time First Team All-District (2008-09) … Three-time First Team All-League (2006, 2008-09) … Two-time state Ohio state champion (2008-09) … 2009 Regional finalist … Played for Cleveland Internationals club team … Named MVP at Super-Y National Finals Tournament (2009).

PERSONAL: Full name is Taylor Maree Leach … Majoring in exercise science … Chose USC over Dayton, UNLV, South Alabama and Long Island … Has two sisters … Father (Rodney) played football at Findlay … Parents are Gina Perales and Rodney Leach.

WHY USC?: I immediately fell in love with the campus, environment, coaches, team and what USC has to offer for me to be successful.

Samantha McGowan
Forward – Freshman – 5-9
Essex, Ontario (Ecole Secondaire L’Essor)

PRE-COLLEGE: Member of Ontario Provincial Team (2005-07) … WESPY (Windsor/Essex County Sportsperson of the Year) Finalist (2007, 2008) … U-15 Provincial champions with London City Flash (2007) … U-16 Provincial champions and national finalist with London City Supernovas (2007) … Ontario Indoor Cup champions with London City Flash (2008) … Two-time Junior Female Athlete of the Year (2007-08) … Played for North London Galaxy club team … 2008 BMO National Championship finalist … U-16 Adidas Cup finalist … Silver medalist at Jubilee Cup Senior Women’s Canadian soccer championship (2008) … LAWSL (London & Area Women’s Soccer League) top scorer and City Cup MVP (2009) … U-16 Robbie Tournament MVP (2008) … Ontario Cup champion (2005) … Leading goal scorer of Ontario Youth Soccer League U15 and U16 division (2007).

PERSONAL: Full name is Samantha McGowan … Majoring in French education … Chose USC over West Virginia, Purdue, Tennessee and Missouri … Has two brothers and one sister … Parents are Pete and Sheila Friesen and Rob McGowan.

WHY USC?: When I visited the campus, I immediately felt comfortable with the coaching staff and team. I love the warm weather. I felt like I was part of the family right away.

Kayla Paoulos
Forward – Freshman – 5-7
Buffalo Grove, Ill. (Buffalo Grove)

PRE-COLLEGE: Illinois ODP team (2003-07) … Region II ODP champion (2004-07) … Region II champions (2008-09) … Region II U14 finalist (2005) … Played for Eclipse Select club team … Midwest Regional League champions (2005-09) … U.S. Youth Soccer national champion (2008-09) … Illinois State Cup winner (2008-09) … NSR Gold Cup champion (2006-08) … Red Bull National League finalist (2008) … WAGS semifinalist (2006) … Disney Soccer Showcase champion (2005).

PERSONAL: Full name is Kayla Paoulos … Majoring in psychiatry … Chose USC over Iowa, Valparaiso, Central Michigan and Ohio … Born September 20, 1991 … Has three siblings, including twin sister Taylor … Parents are Ted and Nancy Paoulos.

WHY USC?: I knew right when I stepped foot on the university that it was the place for me. The girls were all really nice and their soccer style was just what I was looking for. They’re very competitive and they were all really passionate. I also like the whole atmosphere.

Elizabeth Sinclair
Midfielder – Freshman – 5-8
St. Louis, Mo. (Cor Jesu Academy)

PRE-COLLEGE: Participated in Adidas ESP Camp (February 2008) … Participated in National Red Bull League (2007-08) … Two-time Missouri ODP team selection (2005-06) … ODP Region Pool (2006) … Two-time honorable mention all-conference (2007,2009) … Played for St. Louis Scott Gallagher club team … Club team captain (2006-09) … Missouri State Cup champions (2005-06, 2009) … Three-time USYSA Region II tournament participant.

PERSONAL: Full name is Elizabeth Sinclair … Majoring in accounting … Chose USC over Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Indiana and Missouri … Born April 2, 1992 … Has three brothers and one sister … Father (Dan) played football at Washington University of St. Louis … Cousins (Kimberly and Sally Sinclair) played soccer at St. Louis University … Cousin (Michelle) played field hockey at St. Louis University … Cousin (Lori) played field hockey at Missouri State … Brother (Matt) played football at Illinois … Cousin (Elizabeth Grana) played basketball at Knox College … Parents are Daniel and Mary Sinclair.

WHY USC?: All the pieces of the puzzle fit together for me at South Carolina. I love the school, the soccer program, the coaches and the girls!!! When I visited, I experienced one of those gut feelings where I knew USC is where I belonged.