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Aug. 10, 2010

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By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina head women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith’s squad will open the 2010 season as the nation’s No. 12 team, according to the preseason coaches poll released Tuesday by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

North Carolina tops the poll as the defending champions, followed by runner-up Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame and Portland. Florida State, Boston College, Texas A&M, Santa Clara and Wake Forest round out the top 10. Five of South Carolina’s opponents for the upcoming season also received recognition. The Gamecocks will travel to No. 10 Wake Forest on Sept. 19. South Carolina will host No. 11 Florida in the regular season finale, and Coach Smith’s team will also face three teams that are receiving votes in the preseason poll – Georgia (Oct. 15 in Columbia), LSU (Oct. 25 in Columbia on ESPNU) and Auburn (Oct. 8 at Auburn).

The Gamecocks finished the 2009 campaign with a 19-4-2 record, earning the program’s first SEC Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Round of 16. 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 Preseason All-SEC selections Brittiny Rhoades and Kayla Grimsley, an All-America candidate this season as a junior.

South Carolina opens the 2010 season on Aug. 20 when the team travels to Boston, Mass., to play the Terriers and Northeastern Huskies. Fans can get their first look at the 2010 team and get signed posters at the Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 15 at 12:30 p.m.

Season Tickets for the 2010 season are currently on sale. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $10 for students. They can be purchased at or by calling (800) 4SC-FANS.