When the South Carolina Gamecocks step onto the field at Stone Stadium on Friday night, they’ll have a chance to do what no other team has done in program history.
In sixteen seasons at the helm of South Carolina women’s soccer, Shelley Smith has led her team to nine NCAA Tournaments. With a win against perennial national power and second-seeded North Carolina, the top-seeded Gamecocks will advance to its first-ever Women’s College Cup semifinal and sit two wins away from a national title.
All things considered, this has already been a historic season for the Gamecocks. Their current mark of 21-1-1 is the best ever in 22 seasons of women’s soccer at South Carolina. They gained their first-ever #1 seed in an NCAA Tournament by virtue of their nearly flawless record, and currently are the only remaining top seed in the field along with West Virginia. Savannah McCaskill, a junior, is tied for fifth nationally with 17 goals thus far, a single-season program record, and is 19 goals away from becoming Carolina’s all-time leading scorer. As a team, the Gamecocks have scored a program best 51 goals and are one shutout shy of tying the school mark (15) of most in a season.
While the Gamecocks will be facing one of the country’s historically programs, it’s hard to count them out of this one at all. And if they can come out with a win, they’ll add yet another chapter to what has already been a storybook season.