Gamecocks Clash with Clemson Thursday, NC State Sunday
#10 Women’s Soccer vs #16 NC State
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina will host rival Clemson this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. on the SEC Network, looking for their third straight win. After the in-state clash, the Gamecocks will then take to the road to take on fellow ranked team, NC State, in Raleigh, N.C. at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday August 26.
THE PALMETTO SERIES
The Gamecocks have now won the Palmetto series three straight years, with the women’s soccer team aiding in the past two years with victories over the Tigers. The Palmetto Series is an annual points competition between the state’s flagship universities in head-to-head athletic events. Points were also awarded for highest team GPA and for a food drive tackling hunger in their communities. The women’s soccer match on Thursday will mark the first matchup between the two schools this year.
“It seems like we do that [play the first Palmetto series game] often and we’re excited about it,” head coach Shelley Smith said to the meida. “It’s such a good matchup, the teams in the past several years have been top teams in the country, so it’s a great representation of the state. We’re glad to be able to play again at home against Clemson.”
“This game means a lot to both teams,” Smith said. “It also means a lot to the school. We’re going to take pride in whoever we play against, but playing against Clemson, and we are ready for it, can lead to more emotions. We just have to calm down and settled. I think our team has done a good job at that over the past few years. So we have to match the intensity, but we also have to play out of it.”
The Tigers are coming off a long road trip to the west coast, which they polished off on Sunday night against Oregon. They return with a 1-1-0 record, with a 1-0 win over Oregon State and a loss to Oregon by the same score.
The lone goal of the season came from Miranda Weslake, who returns to the team after scoring two goals in 2017. Clemson finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 10-5-4, and an ACC record of 3-5-3. The Tigers would miss out on the ACC Tournament, but still qualified for the NCAA Tournament where they defeated Alabama at home before losing to Texas on penalty kicks a week later.
Both Clemson and South Carolina will be without key defensive players for the rivalry game on Thursday night. Along with Grace Fisk, Clemson starting goalkeeper Sandy McIver is also playing with the same England group in France at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, and will be playing in the third place match on Friday on FS2.
The Tigers return nine starters from the 2017 squad, including senior defender Sam Staab and sophomore forward Mariana Speckmaier, who each earned All-ACC honors a season ago.
SCOUTING NC STATE
After dropping an exhibition match against North Carolina, the Wolfpack have begun their season with two wins. They took down Navy on the road 2-1, then returned home to defeat Monmouth 1-0 in double overtime.
The Wolfpack, who are currently ranked No. 20 by the United Soccer Coaches poll, have been tough to beat at home over the past year and a half. Their record in their past 14 games at home is 12-1-1, including unbeaten in the past 11 contests in Raleigh.
Tziarra King highlights the returners for the Wolfpack. She was listed on the MAC Hermann Watch List after scoring a team-high 17 goals and 40 points and being named to the All-ACC First Team.
LAST TIME OUT – FORDHAM/COL. OF CHARLESTON
The Gamecocks took down a pair of non-conference opponents in their opening weekend of action at Stone Stadium. On Friday, they took care of business against Fordham 1-0 with freshman Riley Tanner earning the game-winner in her first career game as a Gamecock.
The Gamecocks then shifted focus to in-state opponent, the College of Charleston, on Sunday. South Carolina defeated the Cougars using two second half goals, one from freshman Selma Sol Magnusdottir and the other from sophomore Lauren Chang. The goals came just seven minutes apart. Mikayla Krzeczowski notched her 26th career shutout on Sunday, pushing her closer to the top of the record book. As it currently sits, she has the third most shutouts in Gamecocks women’s soccer history.
REPPIN’ HER NATION’S COLORS
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. England advanced to the semifinals on Friday morning, defeating the Netherlands 2-1 to advance to the country’s first ever U20 Women’s World Cup semifinal. On their way to the knockout stage, England won their group consisting of the defending U20 World Cup Champions, North Korea, Brazil and Mexico.
GAMECOCKS IN THE POLLS
On Tuesday afternoon, the weekly United Soccer Coaches poll was released with the Gamecocks sitting at No. 10. The Gamecocks jumped in the Soccer America polls from No. 14 to No. 11.
Just a week ago, the Southeastern Conference released the preseason coaches poll, a poll that collects all 14 coaches preseason predictions where they cannot vote for their own team.
THERE’S A FIRST FOR EVERYTHING
With a team consisting of 26 underclassmen, 13 being freshman, there are bound to be firsts for the young players in Garnet and Black. On Friday, it was Tanner who found the back of the net for the first time, with Magnusdottir assisting, also her first. Against Charleston, Magnusdottir notched her first career goal, with the help of senior Simone Wark. Claire Griffiths would also put herself on the stat sheet for the first time in her Gamecock career, earning an assist on Lauren Chang’s goal on Sunday.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
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 0.44 average.
Krzeczowski will have more than a goals against average record to chase. She also is third in South Carolina history with 26 shutouts, just five 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 114, good enough for seventh all-time. She also has started 46 games in her career, which is the fourth most in program history.
A QUICK DETOUR
Freshman Selma Sol Magnusdottir has been named as one of the 23 players for the Iceland women’s soccer nation team, announced by the Football Association of Iceland yesterday. Iceland will play a pair of games at the start of September against Germany and the Czech Republic as a part of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification.
Magnusdottir will leave to join the Iceland national team on Saturday August 25. Iceland will play against Germany on September 1st and then against the Czech Republic on September 4th. With the dates of those games Magnusdottir will miss games against NC State (Aug. 26), William & Mary (Aug. 30) and Purdue (Sept. 2).
The Garnet and Black will remain on the road following the NC State contest. The team will head to Williamsburg, Va. to take on William & Mary on August 30 at 7:00 p.m. The Gamecocks will then return home on Sunday Septebmer 2 to take on Big Ten opponent Purdue at Stone Stadium to wrap up the third week of the regular season.