COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina hosts rival Clemson in a Saturday night clash under the lights at Stone Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The match between the Gamecocks and Tigers will serve as the first South Carolina-Clemson event of the 2012-13 year between the in-state schools.
The first 200 fans in attendance will be provided official "Beat Clemson" t-shirts, and free pizza will be available to University of South Carolina students with ID while supplies last.
Fans can park in the Athletics Village Parking Garage adjacent to Stone Stadium on Heyward Street. Season Tickets for the 2012 season are currently on sale. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $10 for youth. They can be purchased at GamecocksOnline.com or by calling (800) 4SC-FANS.
CAROLINA-CLEMSON RIVALRY - IN ITS 18TH YEAR
* Each game since 1999 has been a shutout victory for the winning team
* South Carolina has won the last four games in the series, making the 2011 senior class the first to defeat the Tigers through the course of a career
* Since Shelley Smith became USC coach, Carolina has outscored Clemson 13-7
* South Carolina has won the past four matches at Stone Stadium dating back to 2004
* Only one game in 17 matches has gone to overtime: a 1-0 Clemson win in 2003
* Carolina's wins in 2008 & 2009 marked its first back-to-back wins in series history
* The only Gamecocks to have scored more than once against Clemson in a career are Jennie Ondo, Blakely Mattern, Kayla Grimsley and Danielle Au. Ondo and Mattern notched two goals in four matches, and Grimsley tallied three goals in four matches against the Tigers. Au has two goals in two matches and enters the 2012 fixture as a junior.
* Clemson leads the all-time series 10-7, but Shelley Smith is 6-5 against the Tigers
ON THE HORIZON
The Gamecocks don't hit the field for another eight days when they host East Carolina in the non-conference finale on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m.
Clemson was picked by the coaches to finish 11th in the ACC in the second year of coach Eddie Radwanski's tenure. The Tigers bring a 3-1-0 record into Columbia with victories over Appalachian State, North Florida and Presbyterian along with an overtime loss at Furman. With 29 points for and two points against on the year, Clemson brings one of the most potent offenses and stingy defenses in the ACC to Stone Stadium. As a team, the Tigers are averaging 20 shots a game and lead the ACC in goals against average at 0.25. Juniors Tabitha Padgett and Vanessa Laxgang lead the league in assists at three each, and true freshman Hunter Rittgers sports a stellar 0.27 goals against average with 13 saves and two shutouts.
Sophomore Sabrina D'Angelo missed the first four games of the season while competing for Canada at the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in Japan, but the reigning SEC Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year made her return to Columbia Wednesday.
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.
SENIOR CLASSES SET THE BAR HIGH
The 2011 senior class left Columbia as the winningest and most-accomplished class in program history after accumulating a four-year record of 61-22-10 (.710), ranking 15th in the nation and second in the SEC for total victories from 2008-11. The Class of 2011 advanced to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments and won two SEC titles (2009 Tournament, 2011 Regular Season).
The 2012 senior class of Dani Henry and Darien Vercillo will look to surpass those numbers with a strong year. The 2012 class currently holds a record of 52-18-7 (.721), just 10 victories shy of setting the new record. The duo will also look to become the first class to advance to the NCAA Second Round all four years.
Freshman Coryn Bajema earned her spot as South Carolina's starter on the left wing in her first career game, and the forward has rewarded the staff's confidence in her with a team-leading three goals in four matches. Bajema's three-goal weekend against Mercer and Jacksonville led to her being named the SEC Freshman of the Week.
ANGOTTI-SMITH MAKES HER DEBUT
Freshman Courtney Angotti-Smith missed the season opening weekend after suffering a niggle in training, but the Goose Creek native made her debut weekend against Mercer and Jacksonville in outstanding fashion. Angotti-Smith earned 43 minutes off the bench vs Mercer and immediately made a spark for the Gamecock offense, setting up the corner kick that led to Rae Wilson's game-winning goal before adding an assist on Coryn Bajema's insurance score. Angotti-Smith then played 52 minutes and added two more assists in the Jacksonville match to give the freshman a team-leading three assists in only two career games played.
PARKER LINKS THE ATTACK
Freshman Stevi Parker has been the link between the back and the front in her midfield position, but she also made her mark on the scoresheet with her first career goal against Jacksonville. Parker's 53rd minute blast from the top of the `18 capped a 3-0 Gamecock victory.
Junior Gabrielle Gilbert has been the version of a utility player for South Carolina, starting matches at defender and forward in her career. The Canadian began her career on the backline, starting her first career match at right back, but has earned the starting right wing spot this season. Gilbert currently has contributed two assists, second-most on the team.
Defense has been the calling card for Shelley Smith's Gamecocks, and the 2012 season shows early signs of continuing that character trait despite the lack of depth at the position due to various injuries. South Carolina has posted three shutouts in its four games this season to lead the SEC, and the team sports a 0.47 goals against average after allowing only two goals so far this season.