Aug. 21, 2015
A pair of underclassmen, freshman Savannah McCaskill and sophomore Sophie Groff, spearheaded the South Carolina offensive attack last season, as the two combined for 30 points. Groff (15 points) led the Gamecocks with six goals, and McCaskill earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors after tallying 15 points on five goals and five assists.
Junior forward Raina Johnson turned in another productive season last fall after finishing with five goals and one assist. She led the team with four game-winners, and the Charlotte, N.C., native was one of three Gamecocks to record at least 30 shots. South Carolina scored 32 goals last fall and averaged 1.28 goals per match.
Coach Smith’s Take
“Our attack is our deepest position on the team. There has been some great competition between those establishing themselves in starting roles and those that will be key reserves off the bench. We will look for our young players to contribute to the attack as well.”
McCaskill, Johnson and Groff will continue to be the main scoring threats for the Gamecocks this season. McCaskill, a 2014 second-team All-SEC selection, was named to the 2015 SEC Preseason Watch List along with Johnson. Groff enters her junior campaign with career totals of nine goals and 21 points.
Juniors Daija Griffin and Bay Daniel will both look to contribute more this season after appearing in all 25 games a year ago. Griffin notched two points on one goal as a sophomore, while Daniel finished with 17 shots and one assist.
The three remaining returnees (Coryn Bajema, Lauren Jankowski, Vanessa Kovar) all saw time in at least 10 matches last season. Bajema played in 21 games and finished as one of nine Gamecocks to record a game-winner. Jankowski tallied two assists in 14 games, and Kovar saw action in 11 contests, finishing with one shot.
South Carolina’s depth up top will improve this season with the arrival of Simone Wark, Courtney Kaplan and Jacky Huchler. Wark was called into camp with the Jamaican Senior National Team this past June, and the striker helped lead her high school (Bill Crothers Secondary) to the 2014 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Provincial Championship.
Kaplan comes to South Carolina after playing for St. Louis Scott Soccer Club. She attended U.S. Club Soccer ID2 Camp for two years, and the St. Louis Mo., native also played basketball in high school. Huchler earned four varsity letters while playing for Cypress Bay High School. She served as team captain as a senior, leading Cypress Bay to a top-10 national ranking.