By Miquel Jacobs Assistant Media Relations Director
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 22 South Carolina travels to top-ranked Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament, marking the third consecutive year that the Gamecocks have advanced to the Round of 32. The Gamecocks (16-6-0) and Cardinal (20-0-1) will kickoff Friday at 10 p.m. (ET) at Cagan Stadium in the first meeting between the two teams.
LAST TIME OUT
Senior Lolly Holland scored in the seventh minute to send South Carolina to the NCAA Second Round for the third consecutive season with a 1-0 victory over Texas Friday night at Stone Stadium. Holland's goal at 6:25 was assisted by a pair of classmates in seniors Kayla Grimsley and Maria Petroni.
CAROLINA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
South Carolina is playing in its fifth consecutive tournament and sixth overall, holding an all-time record of 4-4-1 in NCAA Tournament games after its 1-0 win over Texas. The first bid came in a 2-0 loss at Charlotte in 1998. The current streak began in 2007 as Carolina earned an at-large bid and played Duke to a 1-1 draw at Athens, Ga. Duke advanced with a 4-1 edge in penalty kicks. In 2008, South Carolina dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to William & Mary at Durham, N.C. South Carolina advanced to the Round of 16 in 2009 with victories against Davidson (4-0) and Rutgers (1-0) before losing to Wake Forest (1-0) on a last-second stunner when the Demon Deacons scored off a corner kick at 89:59. Carolina went 1-1 last season with a 2-1 victory over UNC Greensboro in the first round before falling to host Virginia (3-0).
Stanford enters the match with a 20-0-1 record and the No. 1 ranking in the nation. The Cardinal have lost just two matches since 2009 - both in the NCAA College Cup Final - and are riding a 47-match home unbeaten streak, the last loss being a 2-0 shutout at the hands of Connecticut in the NCAA Third Round on Nov. 23, 2007. Stanford is a seasoned NCAA Tournament team with 13 consecutive home NCAA wins (11 by shutout) while outscoring opponents 33-2.
The Cardinal are led by senior Lindsay Taylor's 18 goals and five assists for 41 points. In total, eight members of the team have reached double-digit points this year, including freshman Chioma Ubogagu's 9g/9a/27p and Mexico international Teresa Noyola's 8g/11a/27p line. Sophomore Emily Oliver leads the nation with a 0.24 goals against average wtih only four goals allowed in 1,488 minutes (18 matches played). She has posted eight clean sheets on the year.
THE SEC vs THE NO. 1's
South Carolina's last attempt at the nation's top-ranked team came in the 2007 season opener when the Gamecocks stunned the defending national champions, 1-0, to hand the Tar Heels the first home-opening loss in the storied UNC history. It was the first time in three years (54 matches) that the Tar Heels were shutout, and the first time in five years (over 90 matches) that North Carolina was shutout at home. Since the 2007 season, the SEC has gone 1-4-1 against top-ranked teams, with South Carolina's victory the only one in that span.
SEC vs #1
September 1, 2007
SC vs #1 UNC
September 7, 2008
Alabama vs #1 Southern Cal
September 18, 2009
LSU vs #1 UNC
September 20, 2009
Auburn vs #1 UNC
September 4, 2010
Tennessee vs #1 UNC
September 19, 2010
Florida vs #1 UNC
SOUTH CAROLINA SWEEPS ALL-SEC AWARDS
South Carolina swept the SEC women's soccer postseason awards with Shelley Smith being named SEC Coach of the Year, senior Kayla Grimsley being named SEC Offensive Player of the Year, and Sabrina D'Angelo earning the titles of SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year. In being named SEC Freshman and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, she is the first player in SEC history to earn two Player of the Year honors in the same season.
THE 10-10-30 CLUB
Senior Kayla Grimsley's last season became the first Gamecock to join the 10-10-30 club with 12 goals and 10 assists for 34 points. She got an assist against Texas to earn the honor for the second consecutive season with a stat line of 10 goals and 10 assists for 30 points this year.
GRIMSLEY HITS ANOTHER MILESTONE
Senior Kayla Grimsley became South Carolina's all-time points scorer with a goal and assist against Arkansas, surpassing a 12-year old record held by Jennie Ondo (1996-99). Grimsley now has a stat line of 43 goals and 33 assists for 119 points in 94 career games.
Grimsley is one of two active players in the SEC with over 100 career points and is eighth on the NCAA active career points list. She's the only active player in the NCAA with 40 goals and 30 assists.
BLESSING IN DISGUISE?
South Carolina was upset in the SEC Quarterfinals with a 1-0 loss after entering the tournament as the top seed. The Gamecocks believe that the loss was a blessing in disguise, as Coach Shelley Smith's squad was starting to get hit by the injury bug. Without having to play three games in five days, the Gamecocks were able to rest and stick to a normal training session for NCAA's.
Starting left back Ali Whitney has been out of action for four weeks with a hamstring injury suffered at Ole Miss, but she has been upgraded to questionable for the NCAA Tournament. Junior Dani Henry started the year at right back and moved to left back when Whitney went down, but Henry herself fell to a hamstring injury in the first half of the SEC Quarterfinal match last week. The extra days off for her and the potential replacements - Ali Glemser and Lauren Hyden - kept all players fresh and allowed Henry to be game-ready against Texas.
SENIOR CLASS SET THE BAR HIGH
The 2010 senior class left Columbia as the winningest senior class in program history, but the eight-member 2011 class took over that distinction with its historic victory in Gainesville. The Class of `10 held a 59-23-13 (.689) record, the most wins and best win-percentage for a South Carolina senior class and was the first to advance to the NCAA Tournament all four years. The Class of `11 currently claims a career record of 61-23-10 (.702). The class is 15th in the nation and second in the SEC for total victories over the last four seasons.
Defense has been the calling card for Shelley Smith's Gamecocks, and the 2011 season has continued that character trait despite the abundance of youth in the regular rotation. South Carolina has posted shutouts in nine of its 16 wins and leads the SEC with 16 goals against, a 0.71 goals against average and an 83.8 save percentage.
MORE ON THE BACKLINE
Senior Ellen Fahey (left center back), redshirt junior Dani Henry (right back) and freshmen Christa Neary and Andie Romness have all been individually named to separate National Teams of the Week as the leaders of the backline that has limited seven of 11 SEC opponents to four shots on goal or less. In SEC play, the Gamecocks have allowed an SEC-low 24 points, and South Carolina is the only team that did not allow two goals in a game more than once in conference play.
D'ANGELO MAKES AN IMPACT
Freshman goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo ranks 36th in the country in goals against average at 0.73 and is 5th among the nation's freshmen in the category, and she is also 8th among the nation's freshmen in save percentage at .831, but it's the intangibles that has the national media paying attention. The Canadian international ranks 1st in the SEC in goals against average and second in save percentage, and she has single-handedly kept South Carolina in games with more than a dozen "how did she do that" saves that had "All White Kit's" blogger Chris Henderson write "(D'Angelo) should be one of the favorites for freshman All-America honors and looks like rounding into one of the SEC's best." Assuredly, D'Angelo was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year for her performance this season.
ROMNESS FILLS IN AS A CATALYST
Freshman Andie Romness was re-inserted into the Starting XI against Vanderbilt and saw Carolina go on an eight-match win streak. After taking over set pieces when classmate Ali Whitney went down to injury, and the Virginia-native responded two assists in her first game.