Gamecocks, Clemson Square Off in NCAA Tournament
Columbia, S.C. (USC SID) — No. 18 South Carolina hosts No. 22 Clemson on Fri., Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, marking the 21st overall meeting between the rivals and the first-ever in the postseason. The No. 3 seeded Gamecocks are making their seventh NCAA appearance in the last eight years and earned a national seed for the second straight year. When the teams take the pitch at Stone Stadium, the Tigers will be playing their first postseason contest since 2007. The SEC Network+ will broadcast the rivalry battle. NCAA FIRST ROUND INFORMATION Date/Opponent: Fri., Nov. 14, vs. Clemson Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET Stadium: Stone Stadium Coverage: SEC Network+ Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com NCAA Digital Program: http://www.ncaa.com/content/division-i-womens-soccer-early-rounds Full Release: http://www.gamecocksonline.com/sports/w-soccer/spec-rel/111314aaa.html SEC Network+ Info: http://www.gamecocksonline.com/ot/sec-network.html SCOUTING CLEMSON Clemson (13-3-2, 6-3-1 ACC) lost just one of its final eight regular-season matches and will travel to Columbia with two weeks of rest after not making the four-team ACC Tournament. Catrina Atanda leads the Tigers with 20 points on a team-leading nine goals and two assists. Atanda was the only Clemson player with more than two goals in league play and earned Second-Team All-ACC honors. Shannon Horgan has handed out six assists to lead the team and has also punched in two goals. In net, First-Team All-ACC honoree Kailen Sheridan has allowed just 10 goals in 17 contests this season to boast a 0.60 goals against average. Clemson allowed seven goals in ACC play and recorded four shutouts in its last six games. Series History South Carolina and Clemson have met in each season that South Carolina has fielded a women‘s soccer program, but Friday‘s tilt will be the first in postseason play. The Tigers lead the all-time series 12-8-0, and the teams are even (5-5) at Stone Stadium. After the Tigers took eight of the first nine matches, the series shifted with the Gamecocks winning seven of the last 11. Earlier this season, the Tigers ended South Carolina‘s 14-game home winning streak and handed Shelley Smith‘s team their first loss of the season. Clemson took a 1-0 decision on Sept. 5 thanks to a corner kick from Shannon Horgan that bent into the far corner over Sabrina D‘Angelo. The match took place in front of a Stone Stadium record of 5,855 fans 10 weeks ago. WHAT HURTS THE MOST It‘s no secret that the Palmetto State rivalry is intense, and women‘s soccer is no exception. In this season‘s regular-season match, the play between the Gamecocks and Tigers was physical from the opening whistle, with the teams combining for 32 fouls and seven yellow cards. CANADIAN CONNECTION Two of the top goalkeepers Canada has to offer will be on display at Stone Stadium on Friday. In 2012, Sabrina D‘Angelo was the starting goalkeeper for her native Canada at the U-20 Women‘s World Cup, registering 16 saves, a shutout and a stopped penalty kick in the tournament. This summer, Clemson starting goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan spent time as the starting keeper for Canada‘s U-20 National Team at the U-20 Women‘s World Cup. Sheridan helped her country advance out of the group stage with 15 saves and a shutout before falling to Germany 2-0 in the quarterfinals. The 2014 FIFA Women‘s World Cup is set to be held in Canada next summer. This year, the netminders have posted nearly identical goals against averages, with D‘Angelo at 0.61 and Sheridan at 0.60 for the season with each earning first team all-conference honors. Each keeper has allowed more than one goal just twice. D‘Angelo saw a pair of goals against then-No. 5 Florida in a 3-2 win and in a 2-2 draw at then-No. 6 Texas A&M. Clemson and Sheridan allowed a pair of goals against ranked teams as well, falling 0-2 to then-No. 2 Virginia Tech and 1-2 to then-No. 8 North Carolina just six days later. THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED South Carolina‘s path to the College Cup is one of the toughest in the bracket when looking at the first round match-ups. The No. 3 seed Gamecocks and Tigers join No.4 seed Wisconsin and DePaul as two contests featuring a pair of ranked teams in first round action. Of the first round games featuring national seeds, Wisconsin-DePaul is the only contest with a lower RPI differential (No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 18 DePaul). The Gamecocks are No. 11 while Clemson is No. 31. The other No. 3 seeds received easier draws, at least in terms of their first round contests, with Kentucky facing RPI No. 143 SIUE, Texas Tech hosting No. 281 Prairie View and West Virginia kicking off against No. 45 Georgetown. NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY The Gamecocks are 5-6-1 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, South Carolina picked up a 5-0 win over Furman last year‘s first round action. Prior to last fall, the Gamecocks‘ last NCAA Tournament win came in 2011, with a 1-0 win over Texas. South Carolina saw its deepest run in 2009 when the team reached the third round, where the team fell to Wake Forest, 1-0, in the final seconds of regulation at Stone Stadium. Overall, the Gamecocks are 4-1-0 at home in the NCAA Tournament VS. THE FIELD The Gamecocks played 13 games against 11 teams selected to this year‘s 64-team field, posting a 7-5-1 mark. South Carolina faced four eventual conference champions – Texas A&M, High Point, Boston University and Florida Gulf Coast – and collected three wins, while posting a draw and a loss against Texas A&M. The Gamecocks also played South Florida, who fell to UConn in the AAC championship game in PKs, and recorded a win. LAST TIME OUT In the SEC Tournament semifinals, the fifth-seeded Gamecocks and No. 1 seed Texas A&M settled into a defensive battle that didn‘t break until an 87th minute goal from the Aggies‘ Bianca Brinson on a corner kick. South Carolina held the SEC‘s most potent offense to just two shots in the first half and ultimately out-shot the SEC‘s regular season champs 10-8. A group defensive effort held them to just a pair of shots on frame in the 90-minute battle. Texas A&M has dismissed the Gamecocks from the last two SEC Tournament semifinals. UP NEXT The winner of Friday‘s contest between South Carolina and Clemson will travel to Chapel Hill on Fri., Nov. 21, to take on the victors of Seattle (14-4-2) and Washington State (10-4-4).