South Carolina Women's Soccer Wraps Up Spring Drills
Ashley Kirk earned All-SEC honors in 2005 for the Gamecocks.
 
Ashley Kirk earned All-SEC honors in 2005 for the Gamecocks.

April 25, 2006

Columbia, S.C. - The South Carolina women's soccer team concluded its spring schedule this weekend with the Alumni game on Saturday and a pair of spring exhibition victories on Sunday vs. Georgia ODP and Newberry. With the spring schedule concluded, the USC women's team now focuses on final exams and preparing for training over the summer.

"The Alumni Weekend and the games on Sunday gave our players one more chance to get out on the field in a game situation before the fall and improve on what we have worked on throughout the spring," said USC head coach Shelley Smith. "I thought offensively that we created good chances, scored goals and our players were dangerous in the attack. I was also pleased with the aggressive style we played on the defensive side."

The end of the spring semester also brings final exams, which start on the Carolina campus this week.

"We encourage them right now to take time to focus on their studies and recover physically," said Smith. We asked a lot from them physically over the last couple months, both on the field and in the weightroom. So, it's important they take this time to recover before they begin to start their summer training in a couple of weeks."

Disappointed by last year's record, the Gamecocks have regrouped and spent time focusing on enhancing their talents and skills to get better and return the Carolina women's soccer team to the postseason. With the August report date approaching, the Carolina women's team has stepped up and committed themselves to becoming a better team by the beginning of the 2006 season.

"Our players were not happy with the results from last year and the record was not indicative of the level of soccer they played," said Smith. "They have been working hard to do everything they can to correct that and a refuse to lose attitude is key entering this fall. They have the motivation to improve and don't want a repeat of what their record was last fall."

Carolina loses four seniors from last year's team including team MVP midfielder Amanda Thurber. Thurber earned team MVP honors as announced at the 2005-06 All Sports Banquet held on Monday evening in the Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium. Thurber twice served as co-captain and was a four-year starter in the midfield for the Gamecocks.

"Amanda started all four seasons for us and as a person and a role model has shown a lot of very good qualities in her time as a student-athlete here at the University of South Carolina," said Smith. "She battled back from an ACL injury last spring and was an inspiration to our team by showing how much she wanted to play and her hard work that got her back in the lineup at the beginning of the year. Amanda maintained consistent play, achieved her goals off the field and was an important part of our team at the center mid position."

Thurber was twice named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was a 2004 CoSIDA Academic All-District recipient. She has maintained a high GPA in exercise science and was on the SEC Good Works Team for her community involvement with Team Gamecocks. Thurber was recently accepted into medical school at MUSC in Charleston, S.C.