Tenth-seeded South Carolina travels to Orange Beach, Ala., to face seventh-seeded Arkansas in opening round play of the SEC Tournament. The match is the first of the event and is slated to kickoff at 5 p.m. (ET). Texas A&M awaits the winner of the Gamecocks and Razorbacks on Wed., Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. (ET). The SEC Digital Network is broadcasting the first two rounds of the tournament online.
GAMECOCKS IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT
South Carolina is in their seventh consecutive SEC Tournament and 11th overall, holding a 3-9-4 record in the event. The team advanced to the semifinals four times in the past six seasons, making the finals in 2009 and 2010.
South Carolina had a draw against Vanderbilt in 2006, leading to a 4-3 Vanderbilt win in penalty kicks. The first Gamecock SEC Tournament victory came in 2007 with a 2-0 win over Tennessee. In 2009, South Carolina defeated Georgia (3-2) and Florida (1-0) before knocking off LSU in penalty kicks (1-1, 8-7 PKs) to win the title. The 2010 tournament saw the Gamecocks advance on penalty kicks against Kentucky (1-1, 3-4 PKs) and LSU (1-1, 4-3 PKs) before falling to Florida, 0-1, on a own goal.
South Carolina has met Florida the most in SEC Tournament play, going 1-4-0 against the Gators. They have also met Georgia (1-2-0), Tennessee (1-1-0), LSU (0-0-2), Vanderbilt (0-1-1), Kentucky (0-0-1) and Alabama (0-1-0). This is the first meeting against Arkansas in the conference tournament.
LAST TIME OUT VS. ARKANSAS
The first meeting between the Gamecocks and the Razorbacks was in Fayetteville, Ark., on Sept. 23. The two teams battled to a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of action. Junior Danielle Au scored South Carolina's goal in the 70th minute on assists by Ali Whitney and Taylor Leach. Two Gamecock goals were called back due to offsides. Sophomore goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo registered six saves in the game.
Arkansas scored in the 55th minute when Jeriann Okoro found the back of the net with a cross from Phyllis George.
The match marked South Carolina's fifth overtime game in the first 10 contests of the season. Since then, the Gamecocks only played one more overtime match in the regular season, recording another 1-1 draw against Vanderbilt.
Arkansas brings a 9-9-1 over all record and a 6-6-1 conference record to the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach. The Razorbacks are led by Ashleigh Ellenwood and Allie Chandler. Ellenwood, a freshman forward, has scored a team-high 11 points on five goals, also a team high, and one assist. The senior midfielder Chandler is just behind with 10 points (4g, 2a). Only one Razorback has started every game, sophomore defender Kaylyn Cooper. In the net, sophomore Kelly Roliard has started 17 matches notching three shutouts and 79 saves.
First year head coach Colby Hale has the Razorbacks in the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2000. The six Arkansas league wins are a school record.
AFTER A LOSS
Both South Carolina and Arkansas lost their regular-season finales on Thursday, with South Carolina falling to SEC regular season champions Florida 3-0 and Arkansas dropping their match to LSU 3-2. South Carolina is 4-2-2 after losses this season. Arkansas is 3-5-0 when coming off a defeat.
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 52-23-15 (.661) all-time vs the West with series' against Alabama (11-4-0), Arkansas (9-3-2), Auburn (7-6-3), LSU (9-2-5), Ole Miss (8-4-2) and Mississippi State (7-4-3). In contrast, South Carolina is 22-70-11 (.267) vs SEC East schools.
GAMECOCK BACKLINE LIMIT 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. During a five-game stretch in conference play, the Gamecocks limited Vanderbilt, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss to only 17 shots on goal in 470 minutes of action. Vanderbilt only had one shot on frame in the match, Tennessee had four, Georgia had five, LSU only tallied two and Ole Miss registered five. The Gamecocks held the Crimson Tide to only three shots on frame in their Oct. 21 match up.