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Arkansas Awaits in SEC Tournament Semifinals
Women's Soccer  . 

Arkansas Awaits in SEC Tournament Semifinals

#10 Women’s Soccer vs. No. 6 Arkansas

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 10th-ranked University of South Carolina women’s soccer team (7-2-0, 6-2-0 SEC) will face No. 6 Arkansas (8-1-0, 7-1-0 SEC) in the SEC Tournament semifinals. The tournament takes place at the Orange Beach Sportsplex, with the rematch of the 2019 SEC Tournament final scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 19, on SEC Network. 

South Carolina women’s soccer (7-2-0, 6-2-0 SEC) held on to take out Missouri (4-3-2, 4-2-2 SEC) 3-2 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. Lauren Chang, Sutton Jones and Catherine Barry all scored goals in the win with Barry’s counting as the gamewinner.
“It’s a difficult road, but we know what it takes to win matches here,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “It’s not always pretty, tonight was a good example of that. I think even last year one of our more difficult games was our first one. We got through that and settled down and played really well after that. I thought we had a great first half tonight, I thought the second half then became a little hectic. We’re better than what we showed, so we’ll take this and be better the next time out.”
“We talked in our scouting session that it was imperative that we get corners tonight and it is a really big part of our game,” Chang said. “I’m just glad I was able to see the rebound and get the ball in the back of the net early to give us some great momentum.”
The three goals for the Gamecocks marked just the third time in program history that the team scored three goals in an SEC Tournament match. The three goals scored was the most at the tournament since the Gamecocks won 4-0 against Georgia in 2013.
The Gamecocks hold an 12-15-5 mark all-time at the SEC Tournament. The Gamecocks won the 2019 SEC Tournament by not allowing a goal while scoring four of their own in three victories in Orange Beach. The Gamecocks also won the 2009 SEC Tournament, winning on penalty kicks in the final against LSU. The Gamecocks have reached the semifinals 10 times in program history and have reached the final three times.
Arkansas (8-1-0, 7-1-0 SEC) is coming off a thrilling 4-3 win over Auburn in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. Arkansas, the No. 1 seed, scored four goals in the first half but Auburn fought back in the second half to make it interesting, but were unable to complete the comeback. Arkansas had seven honored by the SEC, including head coach Colby Hale who was named the SEC Co-Coach of the Year while Anna Podojil was named the Offensive Player of the Year. Parker Goins and Haley VanFossen joined Podojil on the First Team while the Razorbacks also had one student-athlete on the second team and two on the All-Freshman team. Kayla McKeon is the leading scoring this season with five goals, including a brace in the quarterfinals. The Razorbacks have primarily started Taylor Beitz in the back this season, playing in 585 minutes and allowing nine goals for a goals against average of 1.36. Although the Razorbacks have seen recent overall success, the Gamecocks have owned the series historically with a 16-4-3 record in 23 total meetings.
The Southeastern Conference announced the 2020 All-SEC teams along with the conference awards on Thursday with four Gamecocks being named. Anna Patten and Jyllissa Harris were both named to the All-SEC First Team for the first time in their careers while Lauren Chang was named to the Second Team.
Catherine Barry was named to the All-Freshman team after her impressive rookie campaign. Chang also was named the Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year, just the second time a Gamecock has earned the honor in program history. The last being Blakely Mattern in 2009. The Gamecocks have now had at least four named on All-SEC teams for five straight seasons.
Through three rounds of the 2020 SEC Tournament, upsets have been aplenty. No. 14 seed LSU made a run to the SEC Quarterfinals, falling to No. 3 Texas A&M. Vanderbilt, the No. 7 seed, has reached the semifinals after taking out the No. 10 seed Mississippi State and the No. 2 seed, Tennessee.
The semifinal matchups include the South Carolina-Arkansas matchup at 7 p.m. along with Texas A&M and Vanderbilt at 9:30 p.m. Both matches can be seen on SEC Network.
The Gamecocks have had an influx of young talent this season with eight of the 18 goals scored this season coming from true freshmen. Three Carolina freshmen have scored multiple goals in 2020 with Catherine Barry leading the way with four while Rylee Forster and Corinna Zullo each having two this season. Of the Gamecocks 51 points this season, 43.1 percent of that have come from freshmen, the second highest percent in the SEC behind just Texas A&M.
Sutton Jones’ goal gave her three goals this season, the second most on the team. Jones, along with Anna Patten have proved to be threats on the offensive end this season. Patten has scored once and added a pair of assists on top of freshman center back Hallie Meadows who has an assist of her own this season.
After starting the season outside of the altered United Soccer Coaches rankings, the Gamecocks entered the top 15 on Oct. 13 and haven’t looked back. Carolina reached as high as No. 9 and enter the postseason as the No. 10 ranked team in the country.
Four other SEC teams are inside the top 15 with Arkansas sitting at No. 7 followed by Texas A&M at No. 8 and then Carolina at No. 10. Both Tennessee and Ole Miss entered the top 15 in the latest poll, with Tennessee sitting at No. 13 and Ole Miss at No. 14.
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.
The SEC Tournament is the conclusion of the Gamecocks, and the SEC, fall season. South Carolina, along with the rest of the conference’s teams, will return in the spring of 2021 to conclude the season that will culminate with an NCAA Tournament that will begin on April 30 and conclude on May 17.
– The Gamecocks defeated the Razorbacks in the 2019 SEC Tournament final, with Ryan Gareis scoring the game-winning goal in the 1-0 win
– South Carolina defeated Arkansas 2-1 earlier this season, in Fayetteville, with Samantha Chang scoring the game-winning goal and Corinna Zullo scoring the other goal
– Since Colby Hale has taken over Arkansas the Gamecocks are 8-1-2 against the Razorbacks with their lone win coming at the 2017 SEC Tournament
– The Gamecocks have not lost by multiple goals at the SEC Tournament since 2007 (Georgia, 2-0) with every other match either coming down to penalty kicks or a one-goal loss