Women's Soccer to Host Missouri in Home Opener
Women’s Soccer vs. Missouri
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina women’s soccer (0-1-0, 0-1-0 SEC) is set to take on Missouri (7-10-1, 1-8-1 SEC in 2019) in its 2020 home opener. The match is set for Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. at Stone Stadium on ESPNU. Sunday’s match will be Missouri’s first 2020 match after its first match was postponed due to COVID-19 positive results on the Florida roster.
LAST TIME OUT – GEORGIA
South Carolina women’s soccer (0-1-0, 0-1-0 SEC) fell to Georgia (1-0-0, 1-0-0 SEC) 1-0 on the road on Sept. 20. The Bulldogs scored early in the second half and held on to defeat the Gamecocks for the first time since 2014.
“Overall, we had some good things happen today, but there were a couple of things we did not do well enough and that left us exposed,” head coach Shelley Smith said. “Credit to Georgia for capitalizing on their chance and getting the goal they needed. We had chances that I thought we should have done a better job with, but when you don’t put those away sometimes you are going to end up on the losing end of things.”
Georgia scored the match’s lone goal in the 63rd minute when Abby Boyan snuck the ball past freshman goalkeeper Taylor Fox. Despite giving up the goal, the Gamecocks have only given up multiple goals one time in the last 37 matches dating back to 2018.
The loss for Carolina snaps a season-opening winning streak of six, dating back to 2013. It also snaps a 12-match unbeaten streak and moves head coach Shelley Smith’s opening day record to 12-4-4.
TWENTY YEARS OF THE SMITHS
The 2020 campaign marks the 20th for head coach Shelley Smith and associate head coach Jamie Smith. This season also marks the 25th season of South Carolina women’s soccer. Smith has led the Gamecocks to 254 wins and has won 295 matches in her collegiate coaching career. In 19 seasons Smith has captured five SEC championships, has appeared in 12 NCAA Tournaments and one College Cup. She’s produced 14 All-Americans and has 10 current Gamecocks in the professional ranks, which is the second most currently among SEC programs.
The Tigers (7-10-1, 1-8-1 SEC) opened the 2019 season 5-0 for the first time since 2012, and were just two wins shy of matching the best start in program history. The Tigers lose forward Sarah Luebbert, who was named first-team All-SEC. Julissa Cisneros scored 11 goals in her sophomore season – a mark that stands tied for ninth on the school record book. Come SEC play last season, the Tigers were forced to go deep down their bench at goalkeeper, starting walk-on Gillian Schulte in the final four games of
the season following medical issues to starters Peyton Bauman and McKenna Sheehan. Missouri ended the season on a 2-10-1 streak to miss the SEC Tournament for the first time in program history.
SEC PRESEASON PROJECTIONS
The University of South Carolina women’s soccer program was projected to finish second in the SEC preseason coaches’ poll, announced by the Southeastern Conference on Sept. 16. This is the second straight year the Gamecocks have been projected to finish in second and is tied for the highest projection since divisions were eliminated after the 2013 season.
The Gamecocks sit just behind preseason favorite Arkansas and are in front of Texas A&M, who the Gamecocks do not face in 2020, followed by Vanderbilt and Florida to round out the preseason top five.
WATCH LIST GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks had six named to the Preseason SEC Watch List for the 2020 season. Seniors Anna Patten, Lauren Chang, Ryan Gareis and Luciana Zullo along with junior Jyllissa Harris and redshirt sophomore Samantha Chang all were named. Patten, Chang and Harris all are returning All-SEC performers while Zullo, Chang and Gareis have all previously been a part of the All-SEC Freshman team.
In the season opener the Gamecocks started three true freshmen, marking the first time Carolina started three true freshmen since Aug. 18, 2017, against UCF (Jackie Schaefer, Ryan Gareis and Sarah Eskew). Fox led the freshman in minutes with all 90 while Hallie Meadows played 81 minutes and Catherine Barry finished with 70 minutes. Three other freshmen came off the bench for the Gamecocks with Corinna Zullo, Ranya Senhaji and Rylee Forster all making their debuts in the 2020 season opener.
Head Coach Shelley Smith named Lauren Chang, Anna Patten, Luciana Zullo and Sarah Eskew as the four captains for the 2020 season. Chang is the returning leader in career goals scored (15), assists (8) and points (38) and joins Patten as returning 2019 All-SEC Second Team members. Zullo is second among returning career leaders in goals (13) and points (34) while Eskew is the leading returner in starts on the defensive end with 54, including the last 45 matches in a row.
A FRESH START IN GOAL
For the first time since 2015 Mikayla Krzeczowski was not be in goal for the Gamecocks as freshman Taylor Fox made the start in Carolina’s season opener. Fox made four saves in her debut and allowed one goal. The streak ended a streak of 1,771 days of someone starting in goal other than Krzeczowski. Prior to Fox’s debut Krzeczowski sent words of encouragement to the freshman keeper on Instagram, “Shout out to the new kid on the block reppin’ No. 0. I know it’s in good hands. Go leave your mark kid!”
‘MATTER’ IS THE MINIMUM PATCH
As of July 30, 2020, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rules to allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms for commemorative and memorial purposes, as well as to support social justice issues. Student-athletes of the South Carolina women’s soccer program chose to wear patches that read “Matter is the Minimum” on their right sleeve.
The Gamecocks chose to wear these patches because they want to use their platform as student-athletes to take a stand against systemic racism and social injustice. The team does not tolerate any form of racism and injustice and wants to do its part to make a change. Although these patches are small, they stand for a movement that is bigger than any game.
Three Gamecocks from the 2019 squad that reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals reached deals with professional teams across the globe. Grace Fisk (West Ham United), Mikayla Krzeczowski (FC Jumonji Ventus) and Elexa Bahr (Racing Santander) all signed pro deals after the 2019 season. The Gamecocks now have 10 professionals around the globe with Fisk, Bahr and Krzeczowski joining the professional ranks. The nine current pros is second among SEC squads only behind Florida who has 11 current active soccer pros.
Carolina continues its one match a week schedule on Oct. 4, against Kentucky. The match will be the second-straight at home. The Gamecocks-Wildcats’ match will be televised on SEC Network starting at 1 p.m. at Stone Stadium.
– The season opening loss to Georgia marked the first time South Carolina did not score a goal in a season opener since Aug. 17, 2012 (at Milwaukee ,0-0 2OT) and the first time Carolina did not score a goal in the SEC opener since Sept. 20, 2013 (at Georgia, 2-0)
– Luciana Zullo has scored two game-winning goals against Missouri in her career, including each of the past two seasons which both resulted in 1-0 wins for the Gamecocks
– Carolina has not lost to Missouri since 2014 and has won five-straight matches against the Tigers with an overall advantage of 5-3-0 with the first meeting coming in 2013
– The 2020 season for the Gamecocks is the 25th season in program history with head coach Shelley Smith entering her 20th season as the leader of the Garnet and Black
– Carolina will debut its new home white and garnet Under Armour uniforms against the Tigers