Aug. 19, 2015
The Gamecocks featured the top backline in the Southeastern Conference last season, as it helped South Carolina finish first in the league in goals against average (0.683) and shutout percentage (0.520). South Carolina conceded just 18 goals and recorded double-digit shutouts (12) for the second-straight season.
Senior defender Taylor Leach was named to the All-SEC First Team after finishing last fall with four points on two goals. Fellow center back Andie Romness led all defenders with seven points (2G, 3A), while Dominique Babbitt saw time in 22 matches in her debut season for the Gamecocks.
Coach Smith’s Take
“We have always had a strong group of defenders, and this year will be no different. It will be an entirely new group playing together, and we hope the backline and the goalkeeper can gel together quickly.”
South Carolina returns seven of its 10 defenders from a season ago, including one starter (Caroline Gray). Gray played in all 25 matches in 2014 for a Gamecock squad that gave up just 11 regular-season goals. She averaged nearly 65 minutes per game during the season.
Each of the other six returnees saw time on the pitch last fall, with three of them (Paige Bendell, Kaleigh Kurtz, Carly Ray) appearing in all of South Carolina’s games. Bendell totaled two points on one goal, while Kurtz logged 552 minutes after transferring from the University of Richmond following her freshman season. Ray saw 842 minutes on the field and finished last fall with one shot on target.
Babbitt, junior Evelyn Robinson and senior Emily Bollinger round out the remaining returnees. Babbitt tallied 11 shots as a freshman, putting six of them on frame, while Robinson saw time in 10 matches. Bollinger appeared in four games last fall after playing in just two games combined during her first two seasons at South Carolina.