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Gamecocks To Face USF in Exhibition Action
Women's Soccer  . 

Gamecocks To Face USF in Exhibition Action

#5 Women’s Soccer vs USF

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 5 South Carolina women’s soccer will face the University of South Florida in exhibition action on Saturday, Aug. 11 with kickoff set for 1:00 p.m. After coming off an NCAA College Cup birth in 2017, the Gamecocks bring back 21 players and will introduce 13 newcomers.


The United Soccer Coaches today released the 2018 preseason poll, with the South Carolina Gamecocks coming in at No. 5. The Gamecocks come in as the highest ranked SEC school, ahead of Florida who is coming in at No. 7. The SEC has four teams inside the preseason top-25, with seven at least receiving votes in the poll. Of the 19 games on the schedule (18 regular season, one exhibition) the Gamecocks will face nine opponents that are at least receiving votes in the 2018 United Soccer Coaches preseason poll.


The 2017 season for the USF Bulls was one to remember. The team finished with a 13-4-2 record along their way to their third NCAA tournament appearance in the past four years. The team, which consisted of 24 underclassmen, also raised a banner for the program’s first American Athletic Conference tournament title.

USF returns their top scorer, Evelyne Viens, who is a junior this season. In 2017, she finished with 12 goals and finished with the most assists (9) and points (33) in their conference. 

On top of Viens, the Bulls return 33 of their 35 goals from their young 2017 squad. Although the field is almost completely in tact, the Bulls will have a new starting goalkeeper in 2018. The only returning goalkeeper with game experience is sophomore Ricquelle Farquharson, who played just over 94 minutes in 2017 over a span of four games. 

The Gamecocks sport a mark of 2-0-0 against USF. This will be the first time the teams meet in exhibition action. The last meeting coming in 2014 when the Gamecocks took down the Bulls 3-0 at Stone Stadium.


It was a season for the history books in Columbia, S.C. in 2017. The Gamecocks were coming off a program-best 21 wins the year prior, and brought in 15 newcomers to the family. The team powered through the early part of the season, and met up with in-state rival Clemson for the first ever top-10 matchup in the rivarly. The Gamecocks took the win on a goal in the 17th minute, and left Clemson with a 1-0 shutout win. 
The Gamecocks would reach 20 straight SEC victories before the end of the season, but had to take out Florida in the final game of the regular season to claim the title outright. South Carolina would take out their SEC rival 1-0, and for the second straight season, the SEC regular seaso title was coming back to Columbia. 
After tripping in the SEC tournament, South Carolina would regroup and go to work in the NCAA tournament. They shutout all four of their opponents on the way to their first ever College Cup berth in program history, which was clinched fittingly against SEC opponent Florida. South Carolina would complete their best season in program history against Stanford in Orlando, Fla., falling 2-0 to the eventual NCAA Champions.


Dating back to 2012, the Gamecocks hold a record of 4-2-0 i exhibition action, with both of the losses coming agianst Duke in 2012 and 2014. In the four wins, South Carolina has won by a combined score of 9-0, which included a 3-0 win over NC State back in 2015. 


The longest active SEC streak in South Carolina history will be put to the test in 2018. The Gamecocks currently are on a 23 match unbeaten streak in SEC regular season action dating back to 2015. The Gamecocks followed up their 11-0-0 SEC record in 2016 with a 9-0-1 record in 2017. 

During that span, South Carolina has allowed just 0.30 goals per game, and has outscored their opponents 44-7. Returning goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski has played in 21 of those 23 matches, and holds a remarkable mark of 0.28 goals against in a total of 1937:44 minutes, making a total of 43 saves. 


Junior goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski enters the 2018 season with some records on her radar. She currently holds the lowest goals against average in South Carolina history with a 0.46 average over her first two seasons. 
Krzeczowski will have more than a goals against average record to chase. She also is third in South Carolina history with 25 shutouts, just six away from the most which is held by Mollie Patton who played from 2006-10. Krzeczowski is also approaching the top five for saves in a career, she is currently at 112, good enough for seventh all-time. She also has started 44 games in her career, which is the fourth most in program history.


It will be once again a team dominated by underclassmen. After a 2017 campaign that had 13 freshmen on the roster, the 2018 campaign equals that amount for a total of 26 underclassmen. The Gamecocks will have just one senior on the roster, who did not play in 2017, and will complete the roster with seven juniors. 


South Carolina’s Grace Fisk has yet to join the Gamecocks this preseason as she has been preparring and playing in the U20 Women’s World Cup in France. Her team opened up group play (Group B) with a win over defending U20 World Cup Champions, North Korea, 3-1. Fisk made one shot attempt, which was on goal, in the contest. Fisk and England then played to a 1-1 draw with Brazil in their second game. England wraps up group play against Mexico on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on FS1. 


It will be a season where the Gameocks will look to replace a lot of talented players. Most notably, Savannah McCaskill, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the NWSL draft, and now plays for Sky Blue FC. The Gamecocks also will replace Lindsey Lane, an All-Southeast Region First Team and All-SEC Second team member. Anna Conklin, who was captain and helped the defense to a program record 16 clean sheets. South Carolina will also have to replace Lauren Jankowski, Alexis Pendergraft, Dominique Babbitt and Meaghan Carrigan. 


South Carolina will get their regular season started on Aug. 17 against Fordham at Stone Stadium, with the match set to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Gamecocks will play their first three regular season matches at home before traveling to Raleigh, N.C. and Williamsburg, Va. for the only two road non-conference matches of the 2018 season against NC State and William & Mary.