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#19 South Carolina Meets Alabama In SEC Quarterfinals


COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 19 South Carolina has earned the top seed in the league and will face eight-seed Alabama in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals Wednesday at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET). Carolina won the regular season meeting between the two teams by a 4-1 margin.

       South Carolina is in its sixth consecutive SEC Tournament and 10th overall. The Gamecocks are 3-8-4 in the tournament, but the team has advanced to the semifinal round four times in the past five seasons and has advanced to the final in two consecutive years. South Carolina had a draw against Vanderbilt in 2006 leading to a 4-3 decision in penalty kicks. The Gamecocks then won their first tournament match in 2007 with a 2-0 win against Tennessee. In 2009, the Gamecocks defeated Georgia (3-2) and Florida (1-0) before knocking off LSU in penalty kicks (1-1, 8-7 PKs) to win the title. In 2010, the Gamecocks advanced on penalty kicks against Kentucky (1-1, 3-4 PKs) and LSU (1-1, 4-3 PKs) before falling to Florida, 0-1, on an own goal.
       South Carolina has met Florida the most in the SEC Tournament, 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) and Kentucky (0-0-1). It is the first meeting between Alabama and South Carolina in the tournament.

       Alabama enters the SEC Tournament after clinching the eight-seed with a thrilling 3-2 rivalry win against Auburn in the regular season finale. The Crimson Tide is led by senior goalkeeper Justine Bernier, who was selected Second Team All-SEC with a 1.36 goals against average and 94 saves this year. Freshmen Pia Rijsdijk (4g, 4a, 12p) and Theresa Diederich (7g, 1a, 15p) were both named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and rank first and second on the team in points.

       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 total, three Gamecocks were named to the All-SEC teams with Grimsley, D’Angelo and senior Ellen Fahey all earning first team honors. D’Angelo was also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. In being named SEC Freshman of the Year 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.

       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 but does not have the advantage against any of the SEC East schools. The Gamecocks are 50-20-13 (.681) all-time against the West with series’ against Alabama (10-3-0), Arkansas (9-3-1), Auburn (7-5-3), LSU (8-2-5), Ole Miss (8-3-2) and Mississippi State (7-4-2). In contrast, South Carolina is 21-66-10 (.268) against SEC East schools.

       For the sixth consecutive year Coach Shelley Smith’s 2011 squad exceeded preseason expectations by finishing strong in conference play. Picked to finish last in the East in the 2007 SEC Preseason poll, the Gamecocks tied a then-program record for wins en route to a fourth place division finish. Carolina was picked fourth in the 2008 preseason poll and again improved in the standings with a third place finish in the Eastern division. Coach Smith’s team was again picked fourth in 2009 and responded with an SEC East runner-up finish that earned her SEC Coach of the Year honors. Last season’s team was picked third in the East but won a program record eight SEC games to claim second overall in the league.

       2006    6th East        5th East        5th Overall
       2007    6th East        4th East        6th Overall
       2008    4th East        3rd East        5th Overall
       2009    4th East        2nd East        4th Overall
       2010    3rd East        2nd East        2nd Overall
       2011    2nd East        1st East        1st Overall

       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 32 assists for 118 points in 92 career games.
       Grimsley is the only active player 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.
               School  Player  Class   Points  Goals   Assists
       1.      UW Milwaukee    Sarah Hagen     Sr      201     89      23
       2.      Notre Dame      Melissa Henderson       Sr      164     70      24
       3.      Nebraska        Morgan Marlborough      Jr      143     59      25
       T4.     Portland        Danielle Foxhoven       Sr      135     56      23
       T4.     Michigan State  Laura Heyboer   Sr      135     55      25
       6.      Stanford        Lindsay Taylor  Sr      121     49      23
       7.      UCLA    Sydney Leroux   Sr      120     55      10
       8.      South Carolina  Kayla Grimsley  Sr      118     43      32
       9.      Arkansas Pine Bluff     Nicole Parks-Powell     Sr      107     43      21
       10.     Georgetown      Ingrid Wells    R-Sr    105     31      43
       11.     Florida State   Tiffany McCarty R-Jr    101     42      17

       Since dropping a 1-0 match to Kentucky on Sept. 30, South Carolina has been on a tear with a eight-match winning streak in which they have outscored opponents 23-5. All but two of those wins have been by multiple goals, and in the other six the team scored at least three goals.
       The current eight-match winning streak in conference play is the longest in program history, surpassing the five straight SEC wins the team posted in 2010. It also bests the previous SEC unbeaten streaks done in both 2009 and 2010.

       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 60-22-10 (.707). The class is 16th in the nation and second in the SEC for total victories over the last four seasons.



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