Nov. 3, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women’s soccer team opens up SEC Tournament action on Wednesday night as the No. 5 seed vs. the No. 4 seed Auburn. The contest will be televised on the SEC Network. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
SEC Tournament History
South Carolina has advanced to the semifinals in the SEC Tournament at Orange Beach two consecutive years as well as four of the last six tournaments. The Gamecocks won the SEC Tournament in 2009 and reached the finals in 2010 also.
A Look Back At The Last Time Vs. Auburn
The Gamecocks struck early when McCaskill registered her team-leading ninth goal in the 10th minute. Defender Caroline Gray provided the assist on the goal, as the senior threaded a beautiful through pass in the attacking third to McCaskill, who charged into the box and rifled a shot over the head of Auburn keeper Sarah Le Beau.
Less than 10 minutes later (18′), it was McCaskill who set up South Carolina’s next goal. Her through ball into the box bounced off the foot of an Auburn defender and found Raina Johnson, and the senior forward gathered the pass before slipping a shot past a diving Le Beau into the right side of the net.
South Carolina leads the all-time series history 10-6-3 vs. Auburn with three straight victories vs. the Tigers dating back to the 2013 season. This is the first meeting between the two schools in the SEC Tournament
Playing For A Crowd
Through 10 games at Stone Stadium, the Gamecocks rank third in the nation in home attendance with 28,502 total fans. South Carolina’s average of 2,850 fans per contest ranks third as well. The Gamecocks sold 1,000 season tickets for the first time in program history. (Men and women’s soccer season tickets are sold together as one ticket).
Offense on Fire
Through 16 games this season South Carolina has scored 42 goals compared to last year’s squad that netted 32 all season. The Gamecocks have had 17 different goal scorers.
In the Rankings
The Gamecocks are No. 16 in the latest NSCAA poll and No. 22 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll. South Carolina is No. 25 in the latest RPI released by the NCAA.
By The Numbers
South Carolina holds a 283-133 shot advantage over opponents through 18 games. The Gamecocks have put 139 of 282 shots on target, compared to opponents tallying 55 shots on goal. South Carolina averages 15.7 shots per game and is outscoring opponents 42-18 on the year. Averaging 2.33 goals per contest, the Gamecocks are tied for the 12th highest scoring offense in the country and second-highest in the SEC.
South Carolina ranks high and among the best in the SEC in several key offensive and defensive categories. The Gamecocks are tied for first in the league with 41 assists for an average of 2.28 per contest. The Gamecocks are also second in goals per game (2.33) and points (125) South Carolina ranks fourth in goals against average at 0.95 and tied for third in goals allowed with just 18 goals yieled.
In SEC contests the Gamecocks are second in fewest goals allowed with 11 and boast the third lowest goals against average with a 0.95 mark. The Gamecocks are one of only five teams to record three or more shutouts against league opponents.
South Carolina sophomore midfielder Savannah McCaskill earned first-team All-SEC honors with senior forward Raina Johnson picking up second-team All-SEC accolades, as announced by the league office on Sunday afternoon.
McCaskill is the team’s leading scorer and ranks among the top players in several offensive categories in the league with 10 goals and seven assists for 27 points on the year. McCaskill ranks fourth in the SEC in assists, fifth in points and tied for seventh in goals overall. This is McCaskill’s second consecutive All-SEC honor as she earned second-team honors her freshman season as well as SEC Freshman of the Year.
Johnson ranks second on the team in points with 18 on the year as she has tallied six points and six assists to her ledger including a pair of game-winning goals. Johnson has saved some of her best play for the SEC as well as she put together 14 of her 18 points in league play, fourth-best among conference players. This is Johnson’s first All-SEC honor as a member of the Gamecocks.
Junior midfielder Chelsea Drennan earned a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 Team, as announced by the organization last Thursday. The junior midfielder from Anderson, S.C., stands second in the Southeastern Conference with 10 assists on the season. She’s now second in school history with 29 career helpers, four shy of the record. The junior majors in pharmacy.
Drennan is the 16th Gamecock woman honored with the distinction, gaining the 24th certificate for the program started in 1996. To be eligible for the award, a student must be at least a sophomore both academically and athletically and have a 3.30 cumulative grade point average. All the district winners move onto the national ballot, with the results of that vote set to be announced on Tues., Nov. 24.
Ray Earns SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week
Gamecock senior Carly Ray earned Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors from the Southeastern Conference after her two-goal outing against Tennessee on Thursday night.
On Senior Night at Stone Stadium, Ray tallied the brace with a pair of corner-kick scores in the first 15 minutes of the 4-0 win over Tennessee. For Ray, those stand as her first career goals. She also helped with the defensive effort that shut out the Volunteers, holding them to five shots in the match, only two on goal.
She’s the second South Carolina player to earn Defensive Player of the Week honors this season, joining Abbey Crider’s nod on Sept. 28.
The Gamecocks put the match out of reach in the early going, netting three goals in the first 15 minutes. South Carolina opened the scoring in the fifth minute on Bollinger’s goal following a blocked shot and a failed misclear by the UT defenders.
The mistake created a breakaway for Savannah McCaskill, and the sophomore forward put a shot on goal that was blocked by the Tennessee defense. The ensuing deflection eventually fell to Bollinger, who calmly floated the ball over the outstretched hands of Volunteer goalkeeper Julie Eckel.
Five minutes later, South Carolina pushed its lead to 2-0 on a corner kick after a shot by sophomore Dominique Babbitt deflected out of bounds. Junior midfielder Chelsea Drennan’s corner into the box connected with the head of Carly Ray at the far post, and the senior defender knocked the ball into the back of the net.
Drennan and Ray hooked up for a near-identical scoring play in the 15th minute following another South Carolina corner kick, as Ray scored at the far post for the second time on the night.
Both teams settled into the match the rest of the first half, and the Gamecocks took a 3-0 advantage into the break after outshooting the Volunteers 11-3 in the first 45 minutes.
South Carolina midfielder Lindsey Lane tallied the insurance goal on a counterattack by the Gamecocks in the 73rd minute. Junior Daija Griffin provided the service on the goal, as she threaded a through ball to Lane near the left side of the box before the midfielder volleyed a beautiful ball into the top right corner of the net.
Senior goalkeeper Caroline Kelly needed to make just two saves on her way to her second shutout and sixth win of the season. The Gamecocks, who boasted a 21-5 shot advantage in Thursday’s win, finished the regular season with six clean sheets.
Auburn enters with a 14-4 overall record including a 7-4 mark vs. SEC teams. The Tigers feature three All-SEC players in senior defender Kala Faulkner, freshman forward Taylor Troutman and redshirt freshman goalkeeper Sarah Le Beau.
Junior midfielder Casie Ramsier leads the Tigers with 12 goals and two assists for 26 points on the year. Her sister, junior midfielder Brooke Ramsier, is right behind her in the point total with three goals and eight assists for 14 points for the season. Le Beau has started all 18 matches in net and has a 0.83 goals against average and six shutouts to her ledger. Auburn is outscoring opponents 32-15 for the season with a 291-194 shot advantage.
McCaskill In The Lead
Forward Savannah McCaskill leads South Carolina in goals (10), points (27), shots (47), and shots on goal (25). The sophomore has also tallied seven assists, the second most on the team. She is tied fifth in the SEC with 27 points and tied for seventh in goals. McCaskill, who was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 2014, has nearly doubled her scoring output of five goals from her rookie campaign. Against conference opponents, her 12 points ties for sixth best and she is tied for 10th with four goals. She has tallied four assists against SEC opponents, which is fifth best in the league.
Assisted By Drennan
Junior midfielder Chelsea Drennan has recorded a team-high 10 assists. Her 29 career assists rank second all-time in school history and she is just four shy of the school record (33). Drennan’s 10 assists ties her for the league lead and tie for ninth-highest in the nation. She has tallied five assists against conference opponents, which tie for second in the league.
Johnson Wins The Game
Senior forward Raina Johnson netted the game-winner in South Carolina’s matches against Texas A&M and Alabama. Johnson scored in the 89th minute to break a 1-1 tie in the Gamecocks’ 2-1 victory over the Aggies and opened scoring in the sixth minute in a 3-0 win over the Crimson Tide.