#12 South Carolina Women's Soccer 2014 Preview

South Carolina Gamecocks

Overall Rank: #12
#3 SEC
#12 South Carolina Women's Soccer 2014 Preview
South Carolina Team Page


What started as a season with such promise, ended in a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss to Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The season started on a seven-game unbeaten streak, which was highlighted by a 1-0 win over highly-ranked Duke. And following a loss to Georgia, the Gamecocks rolled off five straight wins. Can USC get off to that hot start again?

2013 Record: 17-4-2, 8-2-1
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Shelley Smith

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Raina Johnson, Junior, M/F, 10
Assists: Chelsea Drennan, Sophomore, M, 12
Shots: Raina Johnson, Junior, M/F, 33; Daija Griffin, Sophomore, F, 33
Saves: Sabrina D’Angelo, Senior, GK, 57

Other Key Returnees: F Coryn Bajema, F Sophie Groff, M Stevie Parker, M Bay Daniel, M/D Taylor Leach, D/M Andie Romness, D Christa Neary, D Caroline Gray, D Paige Bendell

Key Losses: F/M Danielle Au, F/D Gabrielle Gilbert, M Elizabeth Sinclair, D/M Christine Watts

The Gamecocks bring back a lot of experienced players from last year's squad. Most of the top players from last year's team return, including eight of the top nine scorers. Raina Johnson led the squad with ten goals and she's back to lead the offense in her junior season. Chelsea Drennan comes back after a stellar freshman campaign that saw her dish out 12 assists. Daija Griffin, Coryn Bajema, Taylor Leach, Sophie Goff and Stevi Parker each had three goals. Griffin and Bajema were second in assists with four apiece. Goalie Sabrina D'Angelo will have a hard time duplicating her junior season. The goalkeeper was named a First-Team All-American, earned her second SEC Defensive Player of the Year award, recorded the second-most shutouts in a season with 12 and had a 0.59 GAA.

Replacing Danielle Au's offense won't be easy for the Gamecocks. The now-graduated Au was tied for second in both goals and assists, with seven and four, respectively. While South Carolina doesn't lose much more offensive firepower, it does lose some experienced players. Both Elizabeth Sinclair and Christine Watts started all 23 games last season. Sinclair finished with three assists on the year.

Final Projection:
The amount of talent, youth and offensive firepower South Carolina brings back makes the Gamecocks a scary team. With the majority of their scorers and All-American goalie it's easy to see why everybody has them ranked so high. And to add insult to injury, the team brings in a stellar recruiting class, bolstered by four four-star recruits. Lauren Jankowski, Savannah McCaskill and Alexis Pendergraft might be looked upon to provide scoring punch. The Gamecocks get five of their first six games at home, including matchups with Milwaukee, an NCAA Tournament team and rival Clemson. South Carolina also gets the two teams that defeated them in the SEC last year (Missouri and Georgia) at home, while also welcoming Ole Miss, the only other "blemish" on the record, a tie.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.70 (87th in nation, 7th in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.591 (15, 1)
Shutout Percentage: 0.522 (25, 3)
Save Percentage:  0.806 (90, 1)

Madness 2015 NWSL Draft Rankings:
#15 Sabrina D'Angelo
#27 Taylor Leach

Madness 2014 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#42 Dominique Babbitt
#55 Savannah McCaskill


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