Nov. 12, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women’s soccer team begins NCAA Tournament action on Friday hosting UNCW at Stone Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. This is South Carolina’s eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last nine years.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children (17 and under).
“We are thrilled to be home,” said South Carolina head women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith. “Credit to the (players). We’ve had a great season and we are rewarded with a home game. To get in the NCAA’s and have a home game is tremendous.”
South Carolina enters the tournament with a 12-4-3 overall record with UNCW 14-6-1 on the year. South Carolina is 3-0-1 vs. UNCW in the all-time series. Carolina defeated UNCW 2-0 on Aug. 23, 2013, the last time the two schools met.
The Gamecocks are one of six teams from the SEC to earn a spot in the tournament.
NCAA Tournament History
Year: Postseason Appearance — Results
1998: NCAA First Round – at Charlotte (L, 2-0)
2007: NCAA First Round – vs. Duke (T, 1-1, PKs)
2008: NCAA First Round – vs. William & Mary (L, 3-2 OT)
2009: NCAA Round of 16 – Davidson (W, 4-0); Rutgers (W, 1-0); Wake Forest (L, 1-0)
2010: NCAA Second Round – UNC Greensboro (W, 2-1); at Virginia (L, 3-0)
2011: NCAA Second Round – Texas (W, 1-0); at Stanford (L, 2-0)
2013: NCAA Second Round – Furman (W, 5-0); vs. Stanford (L, 1-0 OT)
2014: NCAA Quarterfinal – Clemson (T, 0-0, PKs); vs. Seattle (T, 0-0, PKs); at North Carolina (W, 1-0); at Florida State (L, 5-0)
2015: NCAA First Round – UNCW
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 19 games this season South Carolina has scored 44 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, No. 23 in the TopDrawerSocccer.com ranking and No. 26 in the latest RPI released by the NCAA.
By The Numbers
South Carolina holds a 292-151 shot advantage over opponents through 19 games. The Gamecocks have put 146 of 292 shots on target, compared to opponents tallying 65 shots on goal. South Carolina averages 15.4 shots per game and is outscoring opponents 44-20 on the year. Averaging 2.32 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 second in the league with 43 assists for an average of 2.26 per contest. The Gamecocks are also second in goals per game (2.32) and points (131) South Carolina ranks fifth in goals against average at 1.00 and fourth in goals allowed with just 20 goals yielded.
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 nine assists for 29 points on the year. McCaskill ranks tied for third in points, fourth in assists and eighth in goals. 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. She 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.
No. 16 South Carolina (12-4-3) and No. 19 Auburn (14-4-1) dueled to a 2-2 draw in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament before the Tigers eventually advanced to the semifinals 5-3 on penalty kicks at the Orange Beach Sports Complex.
The fourth-seeded Tigers converted all of their penalty kicks and secured a spot in the SEC semifinals after midfielder Ellie Leek found the back of the net on Auburn’s fifth penalty shot.
Forwards Savannah McCaskill and Bay Daniel and midfielder Lindsey Lane all converted their penalty attempts for the No. 5 seed Gamecocks. Junior Sophie Groff, who saw her first action on the field since suffering an ACL injury last month, missed wide right on South Carolina’s first penalty kick.
The Gamecocks jumped out to a 2-0 lead, opening the scoring in the 20th minute on Conklin’s third goal of the season after a series of nice passes by senior Carly Ray and McCaskill. Ray found McCaskill at the top of the attacking third, and the South Carolina forward threaded a beautiful through ball towards the right side of the box to Conklin. Conklin gathered the pass and raced into the box before calmly slipping the ball into the left corner of the net past Auburn goalkeeper Sarah Le Beau.
McCaskill’s second assist of the night in the 61st minute made it 2-0 Gamecocks, as her cross from the right side of the box connected with Wark directly in front of the Auburn goal. The freshman striker stretched her foot out and deflected the ball that dribbled over the goal line.
The Tigers responded quickly, scoring less than one minute later to cut into the lead after a turnover by the South Carolina defense. Forward Kristen Dodson took advantage of the miscue, tallying her fourth goal of the season after receiving a pass from Brooke Ramsier.
In the 76th minute, Ramsier again provided the service for the Tigers, who evened the match at two. Her flick pass in the box found Leek, and the midfielder rifled a shot that sent the ball into the top right corner of the net.
Neither team produced a quality scoring chance in overtime, as the two combined for just four shots in the two 10-minute extra periods.
Gamecock goalkeeper Caroline Kelly turned in her best performance of the season on Wednesday, finishing with a season-high eight saves.