Gamecocks Host SEC West Foes LSU and Ole Miss
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina hosts SEC West opponents LSU and Ole Miss this weekend to end a four-match homestand after shutting out Georgia last Sunday for the team's first conference victory.
The Gamecocks will hope to extend their winning streak beginning Friday night when the Tigers visit Stone Stadium at 7 p.m. The Rebels come to the "Graveyard" for a Sunday 1 p.m. kickoff on "SC State Employee Recognition Day" (all state employees and family members receive $1 admission).
South Carolina holds an all-time record of 5-1-1 against the Tigers in Columbia and a 4-1-1 record against the Rebels at Stone Stadium and will look to extend their current unbeaten streaks against both teams.
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.
ON THE HORIZON
South Carolina hits the road for the final time this season with trips to Kentucky and Alabama next weekend. The Friday night match against the Wildcats will air live on SportSouth at 6:30 p.m.
LSU enters the weekend with a 6-5-4 (2-4-2) record. The Tigers, last season's SEC West Champions and SEC runner-up to the Gamecocks, are having a season similar to South Carolina's which should make for an exciting rivalry match at Stone Stadium between two teams that have drawn four of the last seven against each other and gone to overtime in five of seven. LSU is led in scoring by freshman Fernanda Pina's seven points (2g, 3a). Six Tigers have scored two goals this season. Junior Megan Kinneman has played every minute in goal and sports a 0.97 goals against average along with 84 saves and five shutouts.
SCOUTING OLE MISS
Ole Miss enters the weekend with a 10-5-0 record and 3-5-0 mark in SEC play in the third season under coach Matt Mott. The Rebels are led by a pair of 20-point scorers in juniors Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza. McCalla has 23 points on the season (10g, 3a), and Souza leads the team in all three offensive categories with 25 points (10g, 5a). Freshman Olivia Harrison has contributed six goals and 13 points on the year. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelly McCormick holds a 1.14 goals against average with 5 shutouts on the season.
GAMECOCK BACKLINE LIMITING OPPONENT'S CHANCES
South Carolina has needed to use a rotating group of players on the backline this season due to injuries throughout the lineup, but in typical Shelley Smith fashion, the squad has been strong in limiting opportunities. In their last three games, the Gamecocks limited Vanderbilt, Georgia and Tennessee to only 10 shots on goal in 290 minutes of action. Vanderbilt only had one shot on frame in the match, Tennessee had four and Georgia had five.
Six of South Carolina's 14 matches so far this season have gone to overtime, and the Gamecocks are 0-2-4 in those fixtures. The team has tied the program-record of six overtime matches set in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 after a 1-1 draw at Vanderbilt last Sunday. Two of Carolina's four losses this season have come in extra time (Minnesota 2-1, Clemson 1-0) while the Gamecocks have yet to notch a golden goal, something that was not a problem in 2011 when South Carolina went 3-1-0 in overtime matches.
CAROLINA VS THE SEC
South Carolina historically has enjoyed greater success against SEC West foes than SEC East foes by the surprising note that the Gamecocks hold the series advantage against all six SEC West schools (not including newly added Texas A&M) but does not have the advantage against any of the SEC East schools. The Gamecocks are 50-22-15 (.661) all-time vs the West with series' against Alabama (10-4-0), Arkansas (9-3-2), Auburn (7-6-3), LSU (8-2-5), Ole Miss (8-3-2) and Mississippi State (7-4-3). In contrast, South Carolina is 22-68-11 (.273) vs SEC East schools.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Fourteen of 18 eligible healthy field players have scored a point for the Gamecocks at this point of the season, with 13 of those 14 having contributed at least one of South Carolina's 22 assists. Eight players have combined to score South Carolina's 14 goals this season.
YOUTH IN REVOLT
South Carolina concludes homestand with LSU and Ole Miss South Carolina lost 70 percent of its scoring from last season, and the natural question coming into 2012 was where would the goals come from. The freshman class has shown no problem taking up that challenge with the quartet of Coryn Bajema, Courtney Angotti-Smith, Stevi Parker and Raina Johnson tallying seven of South Carolina's 14 goals thus far. The other scores have come from a sophomore (Lani Smith) and three juniors (Rae Wilson, Danielle Au & Gabrielle Gilbert).