COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina women's soccer will open the 2013 season this weekend with home matches against UNC-Wilmington on Friday and No. 7 Duke on Sunday at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium. Both games are slated to kickoff at 7 p.m.
On the Horizon
After a week at "The Graveyard", the Gamecocks will make their first road trip of the season as the travel north to Boston for matches against Boston University on Aug. 30 and Northeastern on Sept. 1. The team will end the three-game road swing the following weekend with a Palmetto State clash with Clemson on September 6.
UNCW went 1-0-1 in the preseason as they topped Campbell, 3-1, before most recently picking up a 1-1 draw against Elon. The team finished the 2012 season with a 12-7-3 record and made their first appearance in the Colonial Athletic Conference Championship Game for the first time since 2009.
The Seahawks welcome back junior midfielder Stephanie Bronson and sophomore forward Maddie McCormick, who were Third-Team All-CAA selections in 2012, as well as sophomore defender Lindsey Byrne who was named to last season's CAA All-Rookie Team.
Duke will open up the season tabbed No. 7 in the nation according to the NSCAA. After defeating Tennessee, 2-0, in its lone exhibition contest of the preseason, the Blue Devils will take on a pair of SEC opponents in the first week of the season as the head to College Station, Texas, to play Texas A&M before traveling to Columbia for Sunday's match with the Gamecocks.
The Blue Devils are coming off their fourth trip to the NCAA Elite Eight in the last six years after finishing 15-6-2. Duke's top returners include senior forward Laura Weinberg, who ranks fourth in school history with 34 goals, and MAC Hermann Trophy preseason candidate in senior defender Natasha Anasi.
In the Gamecocks only tune-up match before the 2013 season kicked off, the team defeated College of Charleston 2-0 on the road on Aug. 13. Sophomore midfielder Bay Daniel provided the game-winner in the 42nd minute before freshman forward Daija Griffin added an insurance goal in the 55th minute.
Back For More
Head Coach Shelley Smith's 2013 team returns nine starters from last season and 20 players total. Highlighting the returners is All-SEC goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo. The junior earned the honor after spending the early part of the 2013 season with the U-20 Canadian National Team at the U-20 Women's World Cup.
After anchoring team Canada's defense at the U-20 Women's World Cup, Gamecock junior Sabrina D'Angelo was named the 2012 Canadian U-20 Player of the year last December. Canada went 1-2-0 and finished third in Group C behind North Korea and Norway. D'Angelo registered 16 saves, one shutout and stopped a penalty kick against Norway in the tourney.