No. 15 Gamecocks and No. 3 Arkansas to Meet in Fayetteville Friday

University of South Carolina Athletics

The 15th-ranked University of South Carolina women's soccer team (3-1-0, 3-1-0 SEC) is set to take on No. 3 Arkansas (4-0-0, 4-0-0 SEC) in Fayetteville, Ark., on Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. The match will be aired on SEC Network + from Razorback Field.

LAST TIME OUT - VANDERBILT

South Carolina women's soccer (3-1-0, 3-1-0 SEC) held on for a thrilling 2-1 double overtime win over Vanderbilt (1-3-0, 1-3-0 SEC) at Vanderbilt Soccer Complex on Oct. 11 behind goals from seniors Ryan Gareis and Anna Patten.

"Proud of the team to hang in there and battle and find a way to win," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "Two unfortunate goals for each side, but you have to put yourself in dangerous positions to create those opportunities. We are glad to be on the winning end of the match today and were really happy with the team effort overall."

The Gamecocks scored first when Gareis found the back of the net early in the second half. In the 49th minute it was senior midfielder Lauren Chang who tossed a perfect pass to the left side of the box that Gareis one-timed with her left foot a shot that ended up on the bottom right of the net. The goal for Gareis was her first of the season and gives Chang two assists halfway through the eight-match SEC regular season schedule.

The double overtime win for the Gamecocks was its first since 2017 against Notre Dame and is its first overtime win at all since 2017 against Mississippi State when Luciana Zullo won it for Carolina at home. The win, paired with No. 8 Georgia's draw with Kentucky, puts the Gamecocks on top of the Eastern Division with nine points and in control of their own destiny with just two more division matches remaining this season.

SCOUTING ARKANSAS

Halfway through the 2020 SEC regular season Arkansas (4-0-0, 4-0-0 SEC) has been almost flawless. The third-ranked Razorbacks have allowed three goals in three matches on their way to an unblemished record. They defeated then-No. 5 Texas A&M at home as well as tough road win over Alabama in overtime, 2-1. Arkansas leads the conference in goals and shots along with having the top individual point scorer in Anna Podojil (seven points). On the defensive side Arkansas returns the 2019 Co-Defender of the Year in senior Haley VanFossen and has split time between goalkeepers Alexis Bach and Taylor Beitz, often substituting at halftime. Beitz has been the better statistically between the two this season, allowing just one goal and making five saves in 180 minutes of action. Although the Razorbacks have seen recent overall success, the Gamecocks have owned the series historically with a 15-4-3 record in 22 total meetings. Carolina has won each of the meetings in 2019, including in the 2019 SEC Tournament Championship. Since Arkansas coach Colby Hale has taken over in Fayetteville the Razorbacks are 1-7-2 against the Gamecocks with their lone win coming at the 2017 SEC Tournament.

GAREIS NAMED SEC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

South Carolina women's soccer senior Ryan Gareis was honored as the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, the first of the forward's career, the conference office announced on Oct. 12.

Gareis scored the opening goal and helped draw a penalty that led to the game-winning penalty kick for the Gamecocks in a 2-1 2OT win over Vanderbilt. She fired off three shots, all on goal, in the win over Vanderbilt. All four of Garies' shots this season have been on goal. The win extended South Carolina's undefeated mark in Nashville to six-straight. It was the Gamecocks' first overtime win since 2017.

"Ryan had an excellent game on the weekend and happy that her efforts were rewarded with a goal," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "I am proud of her for earning this recognition and look forward to her continuing to bring that level of play through the rest of this SEC season."

PATTEN NAMED TO NATIONAL TEAM OF THE WEEK, AGAIN

South Carolina women's soccer senior defender Anna Patten was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's Team of the Week for the second straight week after her performance against Vanderbilt.

The English center back scored the game-winning goal for the Gamecocks against the Commodores in Nashville. Patten has played all 373 minutes for Carolina this season, the only Gamecock to do so in 2020. Patten is the first Gamecock to earn multiple honors from the same publication this season after being honered in week three against Kentucky.

RIGHTFULLY RANKED

For the first time this season the Gamecocks are ranked inside the United Soccer Coaches top 15 poll. For the 2020 season the United Soccer Coaches poll has been reduced to just 15 teams, with no additional 'teams receiving votes'. Although this is Carolina's first time in the top 15 poll this season, the Gamecocks have been inside the traditional United Soccer Coaches top 25 poll for 49-straight weeks dating back to 2016.

SMITH APPROACHING 300 WINS

South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith is just two wins away from 300 career wins, with 257 of those coming at South Carolina. Smith is in her 20th year as a head coach at South Carolina and has won five SEC Championships, coached 14 All-Americans, has reached four NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals and one College Cup (2017). Smith is fourth all-time in SEC women's soccer history with 298 wins.

A CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHUP

Since 2016 the Gamecocks and the Razorbacks have won a combined four of the eight SEC Championships, with Carolina owning three of those. Friday's matchup will also be a match between the two division leaders through half of the 2020 SEC eight-match regular season with the Gamecocks leading the East Division with nine points and the Razorbacks leading the West with 12 points.

The two teams also return a combined nine 2019 All-SEC student-athletes. Arkansas returns five while Carolina returns four from a season where both teams claimed an SEC title.

'MATTER' IS THE MINIMUM PATCH

As of July 30, 2020, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rules to allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms for commemorative and memorial purposes, as well as to support social justice issues. Student-athletes of the South Carolina women's soccer program chose to wear patches that read "Matter is the Minimum" on their right sleeve.

The Gamecocks chose to wear these patches because they want to use their platform as student-athletes to take a stand against systemic racism and social injustice. The team does not tolerate any form of racism and injustice and wants to do its part to make a change. Although these patches are small, they stand for a movement that is bigger than any game.

UP NEXT

Carolina has an extended week after their match with Arkansas. The Gamecocks return home to take on Florida (1-1-1, 1-1-1 SEC) on Oct. 25, at Stone Stadium. The match will be televised on SEC Network beginning at 2 p.m. Last season the Gamecocks ended in a 1-1 draw with the Gators in Gainesville.

QUICK NOTES

- Ryan Gareis scored the game-winning goal against Arkansas in the 2019 SEC Tournament Championship match while Jyllissa Harris scored the gamewinner in the Gamecocks' 2019 regualr season win at Stone Stadium

- South Carolina has scored in nine of its 10 matches that have been played in Fayetteville dating back to 1995

- The Gamecocks have outscored the Razorbacks 17-7 in Fayetteville since 1996 and have not lost to the Razorbacks since 2017

- The 2020 season for the Gamecocks is the 25th season in program history with head coach Shelley Smith entering her 20th season as the leader of the Garnet and Black

- Shelley Smith won her 298 match against Vanderbilt on Oct. 11, just two wins away from 300 for her career

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