The South Carolina women’s soccer team boasted a historic season in 2016. Not only did they fail to lose a match until the SEC Tournament (winning eighteen in a row after drawing Oklahoma to open the regular season), they lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to North Carolina in the Elite Eight to finish a win shy of the program’s first Women’s College Cup appearance.
The Gamecocks are expected to be one of the nation’s best once more in 2017. According to the preseason United Soccer Coaches poll, the team will start the season ranked 4th in the country. They are one of three SEC teams in the top ten - Florida is ranked #7 and Auburn comes in at #10.
South Carolina will welcome back a couple of key players this year that were part of last year’s Elite Eight team. Topping the list is leading scorer Savannah McCaskill (17 goals and 63 points), who finished as a semifinalist for the MAC Herrmann Trophy - given to the top men’s and women’s player in college soccer - and should figure into the mix once more. Mikayla Krzeczowski, who allowed only nine (!) goals in 21 games as a freshman, should backstop a Gamecocks defense that was one of the stingiest in the country.
The Gamecocks open with a exhibition match against the College of Charleston next Thursday before their season opener against UCF on August 18 at Stone Stadium.