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Nov. 6, 2014

Fifth-seeded South Carolina is set to face No. 1 seed Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament semifinals for the second year in a row on Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET. The SEC Network will broadcast the contest from the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala. Earlier this season, the No. 17 Gamecocks and No. 7 Aggies tied 2-2 in College Station.

Date/Opponent: Fri., Nov. 7, vs. (1) Texas A&M
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. ET
Stadium: Orange Beach Sportsplex
Broadcast: SEC Network, SEC Network+
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The SEC regular season champions advanced to Friday’s semifinals with a 3-0 win over Georgia on Wednesday evening. Three different seniors – Bianca Brinson, Annie Kunz and Meghan Streight – notched goals in the shutout win. Wednesday’s three scorers along with fellow senior Shea Grooms were named First-Team All-SEC last week, as the Aggies put a league-leading six players on All-SEC squads. Grooms captured SEC Offensive Player of the Year and head coach G Guerrieri was named SEC Coach of the Year.

Texas A&M leads the series 4-0-1, with the Gamecocks’ lone decision, a 2-2 tie, coming less than two weeks ago in College Station. Senior Andie Romness scored in the 34th minute on a free kick that sailed into net. The Aggies would come back though, with a pair of goals from that bookended half time. South Carolina junior Stevi Parker equalized the game in the 89th minute, one timing a long shot past the keeper for the tie. Last season, the teams met in the semifinals again, with Texas A&M taking a 2-1 decision. Liz Keester scored a pair of early goals for the Aggies that proved to be the difference. Raina Johnson scored in the 25th minute for the Gamecocks, but the comeback bid wasn’t enough. Texas A&M went on to win its first SEC Tournament championship.

In the SEC Tournament quarterfinal nightcap, South Carolina took down Missouri 2-1 on Wednesday night to join (10) Tennessee, (3) Kentucky and (1) Texas A&M in the semifinals. After scoring just one goal in three previous meetings with the Tigers, the Gamecocks got on the board in the 24th minute on a strike from the top of the 18 courtesy of Stevi Parker. Sophie Groff added another in the 57th minute for a 2-0 lead. The Gamecocks looked to be on their way to a shutout win, but a furious Missouri comeback resulted in an 87th minute goal from Alli Magaletta. The Tigers could not find the equalizer though and South Carolina advanced to the semifinals for the second-straight season.

All-time, the Gamecocks are 6-11-4 in the SEC Tournament with a 6-7-4 record in Orange Beach. This season marks South Carolina’s 13th trip to the event and ninth-straight appearance. In 2009 and 2010, the Gamecocks advanced to back-to-back SEC tournament finals, taking the title in 2009 after defeating LSU 8-7 in PKs while falling 0-1 to Florida the following season on a own goal. Four times, including a stretch of three straight games spanning the 2009 and 2010 tournaments, the Gamecocks have moved to the penalty kick phase of a match. Shelley Smith’s squad has not dropped a shootout at the SEC Tournament. After advancing for the first time in program history in 2006 on penalty kicks vs. Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks recorded their first SEC Tournament win vs. Tennessee in 2007.

When the 2014 SEC honors were announced on Sunday, the Gamecocks were well represented. Forward Savannah McCaskill became the third SEC Freshman of the Year in program history, joining teammate Sabrina D’Angelo (2011) and Ashley Kirk (2004). McCaskill was also named Second-Team All-SEC and All-Freshman. For the second-straight season, senior team captains Sabrina D’Angelo and Taylor Leach earned First-Team All-SEC recognition after anchoring the defense as they led the league in nearly every major statistical category including goals allowed (11), goals against average (0.58), shots on goal allowed (60) and points allowed (31). The South Carolina backline limited 10 of its 11 league opponents to 5 shots on goal or less. D’Angelo, a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year (2011, 2013), has earned All-SEC honors all four years of her career in the Garnet and Black and boasts a career goals against average of .779.

The winner of the match between the Gamecocks and Aggies will move on to face the winner of (10) Tennessee and (3) Kentucky in the SEC Tournament championship on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. ESPNU will have coverage of the title match.