May 31, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina women’s soccer released its 2016 schedule on Tuesday, announcing a challenging 18-game slate that includes 10 matches at Stone Stadium this fall.
The Gamecocks, who begin their fall with an exhibition at High Point on Aug. 13, will face five teams that were ranked in the NSCAA’s Top-25 poll at the conclusion of the 2015 regular season. Seven of South Carolina’s opponents reached the 2015 NCAA Tournament, and nine of them finished last season with double-digit wins.
South Carolina opens the regular season at Oklahoma on Aug. 19 for the Nike Sooner Classic, as the two schools will face one another for the second-straight year. South Carolina defeated Oklahoma, 2-1, in overtime last season in Columbia behind a game-winner from midfielder Lindsey Lane. The Gamecocks will also play Tulsa in the event on Aug. 21.
South Carolina’s home opener will be against NC State on Aug. 25, and its non-conference slate continues three days later at UCF on Aug. 28. Each of the Gamecocks’ final three non-conference matches will take place at Stone Stadium, including their contest against Clemson on Sept. 2.
“The 2016 schedule will be competitive once again with the talented non-conference lineup we have,” women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith said. “This will be great preparation for us as we move into the conference schedule.”
Three of South Carolina’s first four SEC matches will be at home, starting with the conference opener against Georgia on Sept. 9. The Gamecocks will also host LSU and Kentucky in September before rounding out the month at Texas A&M. South Carolina earned its first win ever against the Aggies in 2015, a 2-1 decision at home.
This season, league matches will take place on Thursday and Sunday to give players more rest in between games.
“The scheduling move in the SEC is a welcome change by our coaches group,” Smith said. “This should reduce the chance of injuries throughout the season and give the SEC teams the ability to perform at their best on Sundays.”
Florida marks the other notable SEC foe to come to Columbia this fall. The Gators, winners of the 2015 SEC Tournament, will face South Carolina on Oct. 16. Seven of the last eight matches between the Gamecocks and Florida have been decided by one goal, and the two have split the last eight games in the series.
“We know that the SEC will be difficult as the level in the league continues to become better each year,” Smith said. “Overall, we will be working all season to prove we are once again competing at the top level nationally.”
South Carolina concludes SEC play with road matches against Vanderbilt and Tennessee before hosting Ole Miss in its regular-season finale on Oct. 27. The SEC Tournament, set for Oct. 31-Nov. 6, will once again take place in Orange Beach, Ala., where Carolina will aim to reach the semifinals of the league championship for the fourth time in the last eight seasons.
Season tickets are on sale now, with soccer fans yet again getting the best deal ever offered for tickets. For $25 for adults and $10 for youth 17 and under, purchasers receive a season ticket to every women’s and men’s soccer match this season, 20 in all. To take advantage of the offer, call 800-472-3267 or click here today.
The Gamecocks posted a mark of 12-5-3 this past fall and won nine of their 11 matches at Stone Stadium. South Carolina ranked third in Division I in average home attendance last year, finishing in the top-10 nationally for the third-straight season.