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Oct. 22, 2016


Match Information

Date: Oct. 23, 2016

Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET

Location: Knoxville, Tenn.

Stadium: Regal Soccer Stadium

Watch Live: SEC Network+ (WatchESPN)

Live Stats:

Recent Headlines

No. 2 Gamecocks Earn Second-Straight Overtime Win To Remain Atop SEC Kurtz Earns Weekly Honors From SEC, NCAA Drennan’s Overtime Penalty Kick Propels No. 2 Gamecocks Over No. 17 Florida

2016 Schedule
Date Opponent Time/Result (TV)
8/13 at High Point (Exh.) W, 2-0
8/19 Oklahoma T, 1-1 (OT)
8/21 Tulsa W, 4-1
8/25 NC State W, 3-0
8/28 UCF W, 2-1
9/3 No. 6 Clemson W, 2-1
9/5 Charlotte W, 3-0
9/9 Georgia W, 3-0
9/15 UNCG W, 3-0
9/18 Auburn W, 1-0
9/22 LSU W, 3-1
9/25 Kentucky W, 3-0
9/29 Texas A&M W, 1-0
10/6 Mississippi State W, 1-0
10/9 Arkansas W, 3-1
10/16 Florida W, 1-0 (OT)
10/20 Vanderbilt W, 2-1 (OT)
10/23 Tennessee 5:00 pm ET
10/27 Ole Miss 7:00 pm ET (SEC Network)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 2 South Carolina women’s soccer (15-0-1, 9-0-0 SEC) takes a program-record 15-matching winning streak into Knoxville, Tenn., where it faces Tennessee (10-6-1, 5-3-1 SEC) Sunday in its final road contest of the regular season. Kickoff from Regal Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET, and the match can be seen on SEC Network+, available through WatchESPN.

A win against the Volunteers or an Auburn loss on Sunday will give the conference leader Gamecocks at least a share of the SEC Regular-Season title. It would mark the program’s third SEC Championship and first since 2011.


“Tennessee is a team that has shown it can compete against anybody. They’re full of talent, and we know we’ll have our hands full with them. We just need to take care of business, and play like we have all year. Our senior leadership has been a guide for us all season. They know how to handle tough decisions, and I expect that again this weekend.” — South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith


The Volunteers, winners of four of their last five matches, topped Mississippi State 3-0 at home Thursday night to improve to 10-6-1 overall and 5-3-1 in SEC play. Tennessee sports a mark of 7-4-0 when playing at Regal Soccer Stadium this season, and the Volunteers are 0-2 when facing ranked opponents. They fell to No. 10 BYU 5-2 on Sept. 2 before tallying a 2-0 loss to No. 12 Florida on Sept. 25. Sunday will mark Tennessee’s first home match against a top-25 team this year.

Forward Hannah Wilkinson has paced the Volunteer offense in 2016, leading the team in points (27), goals (9) and assists (9). Sophomore midfielder Rylie O’Keefe has registered a team-best three game-winners, while junior Carlyn Baldwin ranks third on the team in points (8) and goals (3). Redshirt senior Jamie Simmons and sophomore Shae Yanez have split time in net, with both keepers boasting two shutouts on the year.

South Carolina is 7-12-2 all-time against the Volunteers in a series that dates back to 1996. The Gamecocks have had the advantage as of late in the series, winning seven of the last eight matches. Carolina has won each of its last three road games against Tennessee, with two of the victories coming in overtime.


South Carolina earned its second-straight overtime victory Thursday night, downing Vanderbilt 2-1 behind senior forward Daija Griffin’s game-winner in the 97th minute. The goal was set up by a beautiful through ball from fellow senior Sophie Groff, who hit Griffin in stride inside the box. Griffin received the pass and one-timed a shot past the keeper to clinch the victory for the Gamecocks, who moved to 2-0-1 in overtime matches this season. The Commodores sent the game into overtime after converting on the counter attack with a goal in the final second of regulation.

South Carolina opened the scoring quickly, as Paige Bendell headed home a goal with just 48 seconds gone in the match. The goal was the second-fastest in school history, and the Gamecocks finished the contest with a 16-7 shot advantage. Vanderbilt was limited to three shots on frame, while Carolina freshman goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski collected two saves to move to 12-0-1.


The Gamecocks remained at No. 2 in Tuesday’s NSCAA Top-25 Poll, receiving five first-place votes. South Carolina also stayed at No. 3 in this week’s NCAA soccer’s RPI Rankings. Both positions are the best in program history, and the Gamecocks also sit in the top three in the current (No. 2) and Soccer America (No. 3) polls.


South Carolina, which sports the top winning percentage (.969) in Division I, is one of two teams still unbeaten on the year. Bucknell marks the other undefeated team, as the Bison enter this week at 13-0-1 on the year. The Gamecocks went unbeaten (6-0-1) in non-conference play for the first time since 2013, and their 15-0-1 record is their best start to a season ever.


South Carolina’s performance against then-No. 17 Florida last Sunday (Oct. 16) marked its sixth shutout in SEC play this season. The Gamecocks have allowed just three goals in conference action, and Vanderbilt’s late tally on Thursday marked their first goal conceded on the road in SEC play this season. Carolina, which has allowed just two goals in the last 625 minutes, leads all league members and ranks eighth in Division I in goals against average (0.43)


The Gamecocks currently boast the longest winning streak (15) and longest unbeaten streak (16) in school history. Both streaks bested the previous program records that were set in 2009 when South Carolina won 11-straight matches and began the season 13-0-1.


The Gamecocks have trailed for just 85 seconds this season, falling behind 1-0 against UCF (Aug. 28) following a penalty kick. South Carolina has headed into halftime with the lead in eight games, and seven of its victories have come by at least two goals. The Gamecocks have scored in the opening 15 minutes of a match seven times in 2016.


With Thursday’s victory over Vanderbilt, South Carolina equaled the program’s longest road winning streak of five matches. The Gamecocks have allowed just three goals in true road games this season, tallying shutouts in three of their last four matches away from Stone Stadium.


Four of South Carolina’s last five game-winners have come in the final 10 minutes of the match. Senior forward Daija Griffin tallied the overtime winner in the 97th minute Thursday on the road against Vanderbilt, and midfielder Chelsea Drennan’s penalty kick gave the Gamecocks a 1-0 overtime victory over then-No. 17 Florida (Oct. 16) in the 103rd minute. Attacker Savannah McCaskill found the back of the net in the 87th minute on the road against Texas A&M (Sept. 29), and senior Sophie Groff tallied the game-winning goal in the 80th minute against Mississippi State on Oct. 6.


South Carolina senior center back Kaleigh Kurtz grabbed two honors this past week, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week accolades Monday before being tabbed the NCAA Women’s Soccer Player of the Week on Wednesday. Both achievements marked the first two weekly awards for the Greer, S.C., native, who played all 103 minutes in this past Sunday’s 1-0 win over then-No. 17 Florida. The shutout came against a Gators team that entered the weekend with the top offense in the SEC, averaging 2.77 goals per match. Kurtz has been on the field for all 829 minutes of SEC play this season, and she boasts six points in 2016 on four assists and one goal.


With her first of two assists against then-No. 11 Arkansas (Oct. 9), senior midfielder Chelsea Drennan set the program record with 34 for her career. The Anderson, S.C., native, who ranks first on the team with seven assists this season, led the Gamecocks in the statistical category in each of her first three seasons. Drennan’s performance against the Razorbacks marked her ninth career multi-assist match, and the midfielder now boasts 36 assists for her career after adding another one Thursday against the Commodores.


Forward Savannah McCaskill is enjoying one of the most prolific seasons in school history. Her 11 goals are three away from the most by a Gamecock in one year, and the junior’s seven assists are tied for the eighth-highest mark in a season. McCaskill’s six game-winners equal the school’s single-season record, and her 29 points stand five away from Kayla Grimsley’s program-best 34 in 2010.


Savannah McCaskill enters Sunday’s contest ranked in the top 10 on four lists in South Carolina’s record book. The forward sits in the top five in points (3rd, 73) goals (4th, 26) and assists (4th, 21), and her eight career game-winners are the seventh-best total in school history.

Senior midfielder Chelsea Drennan, South Carolina’s all-time assists leader (36), is two game-winning assists short of the school record (12). The Anderson, S.C., native also ranks sixth on the all-time scoring list with 58 points. Sophie Groff tallied a pair of game-winners against Mississippi State (Oct. 6) and Arkansas (Oct. 9) to climb to seventh (20) on Carolina’s all-time goals list, and her assist on Thursday gave her sole possession of 10th (50) on the all-time scoring list. Groff’s nine career game-winners are tied for fifth all-time among Gamecocks.


South Carolina rounds out the regular season on Thu., Oct. 27, when it plays host to Ole Miss at Stone Stadium. It will be Senior Night for the Gamecocks, who will honor nine players prior to the contest against the Rebels. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will air on SEC Network.