COLUMBIA — No. 11 South Carolina puts its preseason training to the test tonight (Friday) in an exhibition match at NC State. Kickoff at Dail Soccer Field is set for 6 p.m. and admission is free. It will be the lone exhibition match for the Gamecocks, who officially open the 2015 season Fri., Aug. 21, against Northeastern at Stone Stadium.
South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith returns her five top scorers from last season and looks to re-establish a stalwart defensive unit that lost key pieces to graduation. Several Gamecocks who stepped up in last season’s NCAA Tournament run to the Elite Eight will vie for the spotlight on defense as will transfer goalkeeper Caroline Kelly.
Offensively, the Gamecocks continue to grow. Junior forward Sophie Groff and reigning SEC Freshman of the Year Savannah McCaskill tied for the team lead with 15 points each last season with Groff pacing the squad with six goals. Junior midfielder Chelsea Drennan’s seven assists led the team last season. Dynamic scorer Raina Johnson put in five goals last season and has been working hard on ways to shed the extra defensive attention she got last season as a result.
The Wolfpack struggled offensively last season en route to a 2-15-2 record but have added six freshmen and a transfer from Vanderbilt to bolster the team this season. South Carolina and NC State have officially met five times in program history with the Gamecocks boasting a 4-1 record in the series.
Season tickets are on sale now, with soccer fans yet again getting the best deal ever offered for tickets. For $25 for adults and $10 for youth 17 and under, purchasers receive as season ticket to every women’s and men’s soccer match this season, 19 in all. In addition, season-ticket buyers receive an exclusive Gamecock Soccer scarf. To take advantage of the offer, call 800-472-3267 or visit GamecocksOnline.com/tickets.