Aug. 15, 2016
Senior Chelsea Drennan and recent graduate Stevi Parker paced the Gamecock midfield last season. For the third-straight year, Drennan led South Carolina in assists (10), and she ranked fourth on the team with 12 points. Parker provided stability on the defensive end for a Gamecock squad that ended the season with six shutouts.
South Carolina received eight goals and 14 assists from its midfield, and two midfielders finished the season with multiple scores. Lindsey Lane ranked third among Gamecocks with three goals, including the overtime game-winner against Oklahoma (Aug. 23).
Drennan, South Carolina’s captain this fall, takes on a bigger leadership role in her final year. The Anderson, S.C., native heads into the season just four assists short of the program record (33), and she will serve a defensive and attacking role in 2016.
Lane and fellow junior Dominique Babbitt will also see their role roles expand. Lane returned from two ACL tears and saw time in 18 matches as a sophomore. She earned seven starts, finishing the year with eight points.
Babbitt came on strong in her sophomore season and emerged as a steadying force in the middle. She started 18 of South Carolina’s 20 matches and finished the year with a goal and an assist. Junior Alexis Pendergraft marks the final returnee in the midfield. The Raleigh, N.C., native appeared in four matches last year after not playing as a freshman.
Both of South Carolina’s newcomers in the midfield, Elexa Bahr and Estefania Salas, bring national team experience to Columbia. Bahr was a member of the Honduran U-20 squad at the 2015 World Cup Pre-Qualifier games, and she also participated in Georgia’s Olympic Development Program (ODP) for five years. She will bring a new look to the Gamecocks midfield with her creativity and ability to create for others.
Salas competed for Panama’s U-17 and U-20 National Teams. She earned Team MVP honors while playing at the club level for Costa Del Este F.C., and the Panama City, Panama, native was the top scorer for Colegio San Agustin during her high school career.
Coach Shelley Smith’s Take
“Chelsea Drennan will headline a midfield unit that features a group of talented players that have all played quality minutes at Carolina. They’re ready to make their mark in the middle.”