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Oct. 29, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 20 South Carolina (11-4-3, 4-3-3 SEC) concludes the regular season at Stone Stadium on Thursday against Mississippi State. Before the 7 p.m. contest, the Gamecocks will honor seniors Sabrina D’Angelo, Taylor Leach, Christa Neary and Andie Romness. The SEC Network + will have live coverage of the regular season finale.

Date/Opponent: Thurs., Oct. 30, vs. Mississippi State
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m.
Stadium: Stone Stadium
Promotions: Senior Night – Fans can send in well wishes and congratulations to our four seniors. Senior big head giveaway, National Candy Corn Day – free candy corn to fans.

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The Bulldogs (3-14-0) have struggled to find wins in recent years and have not recorded a conference victory this season (0-10-0). Senior Shannen Jainudeen leads Mississippi State with 15 points on seven goals and 15 points. Only Jainudeen and Morgan Ferrara have scored more than one goal for the Bulldogs this season, with Ferrara netting a pair of tallies. Leadiing the team in assists is Mallory Eubanks who has doled out four on the season.

In net, Rhylee DeCrank has played the majority of the time in net, logging 1137 minutes while allowing 27 goals. Tanya de Souza has also played, recording just over 400 minutes in goal, allowing 12 scores.

In a match controlled by the Gamecocks, Sophie Groff scored the game-winner in the 1-0 contest in the 71st minute on the road in Starkville last season. South Carolina allowed just six shots in the match. At Stone Stadium, the Gamecocks are 6-2-1 against the Bulldogs all time.

On Thursday evening a pair of husband and wife coaches will meet on the pitch at Stone Stadium. South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith works along side her husband and associate head coach Jamie Smith, while Mississippi State’s Aaron Gordon has his wife Ashley Gordon as an assistant coach on his staff.

South Carolina is set to honor one of the most accomplished senior classes in Gamecock history. The group of Sabrina D’Angelo, Taylor Leach, Christa Neary and Andie Romness has made an impact since arriving on campus, combining for nearly 25,000 minutes of play and 265 starts. With the trio of defenders and goalkeeper manning the backline, the Gamecocks have earned 36 shutouts and 51 total wins. In their freshman season, South Carolina captured the 2011 SEC regular season championship. Last year, they led the Gamecocks to the first perfect record at Stone Stadium, posting an 11-0 mark. The team has been in the top 25 for 25 weeks while the foursome has been South Carolina’s main line of defense. The group became the first team ever to win back-to-back matches on the road at Florida and just two weeks ago posted the first win over a top-5 opponent at Stone Stadium in a thrilling 3-2 victory over the No. 5 Gators.

For the second-straight season, the Gamecocks moved through non-conference play allowing just one goal (vs. Clemson, Sept. 5). South Carolina allowed a goal in each of its first four SEC matches, before posting its first league shutout against LSU (1-0) on Oct. 5. The Gamecocks have seen just 11 goals scored upon them and boast a 0.581 goals against average (13th nationally). The Gamecocks have allowed more than one goal in just two match this season (3-2 W vs. No. 5 Florida, 2-2 T at No. 6 Texas A&M) and have earned nine shutouts in their 18 matches this season. No other SEC team has allowed less than 15 goals.

In Monday’s NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report, the Gamecocks dropped one spot after their ties at Vanderbilt and at the RPI’s then-No. 5 Texas A&M. South Carolina posted a program-high No. 5 in the season’s initial report. The RPI is one of the tools used by the selection committee to determine the 64-team field for the NCAA Tournament, ranking teams based on wins and losses as well as strength of schedule. This week’s opponent will not help the Gamecocks though, with Mississippi State sitting at No. 232.

In 10 home matches this season, the Gamecocks are second in the nation in average attendance with 2,923, just a handful of people per game behind SEC foe Texas A&M (2,935). A total of 29,225 have come through the gates with only one match seeing less than 1,700 fans this season. On Fri., Sept. 5, South Carolina set a program record with 5,855 in attendance at the rivalry match vs. Clemson. The previous regular-season record stood at 3,017 (Clemson, 9/10/10) with the all-time attendance number of 4,347 set vs. Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 20, 2009. All nine of the 10 2014 contests rank in the top 18 of the program’s all-time attendance annals.

South Carolina awaits the final SEC standings to learn its seed for the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala. The field will be set on Thursday night once all conference games are completed, and the tournament begins Mon., Nov. 3 with the championship game set for Sun., Nov. 9.