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April 20, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina women’s soccer team capped off a successful spring season this past weekend with its Alumni Game on Saturday at Stone Stadium. A wide variety of players were in action during the annual event that brings current and former Gamecocks together on the pitch.

“There were several different classes, and everyone had a great time,” South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith said. “Our girls had fun meeting players that have been through the program, and the alumni enjoyed talking with the current players. The current players are a nice, friendly group that they’re proud to see do well.”

Notable alumni present at the game included former All-SEC selection Lydia Bienias (1998-01), forward Leslie Lamb (1996-99) and goalkeeper Mollie Patton (2006-10), who helped lead the Gamecocks to their first SEC Tournament championship in 2009.

South Carolina opened its spring season in mid-January with fitness testing and weight training before holding its first practice a week later. The Gamecocks competed in seven matches throughout the spring, beginning on Saturday, Feb. 20, with home games against Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern. They rounded out the month with two more contests against Furman and Columbus State.

Smith saw notable improvement from her team over the past few months, and South Carolina concluded its spring slate with three-straight victories. The Gamecocks notched a 4-1 victory over Georgia on March 19 before earning shutouts against Pittsburgh (2-0) and East Tennessee State (5-0) earlier this month on April 19.

“The spring is a good opportunity for our team to progress a few months when everyone gets playing time,” Smith said. “We can allow players to play in different positions, and give new players more opportunities to play and get used to the college game before the fall. This group responded very well, and they looked at their best these last two weekends of games.”

South Carolina earned its eighth trip in the last nine years to the NCAA Tournament this past fall and was ranked in the NSCAA Top-25 throughout the entire regular season. The Gamecocks featured one of the most prolific offenses in program history, finishing the year with the fourth-most goals (44) in program history.