The Daily Gamecock

Women's soccer to celebrate Senior Night Thursday

Head coach Shelley Smith and the Gamecocks are excited to host Mississippi State Thursday at 7 p.m. for senior night.  

This is the last game of the regular season for No. 20 South Carolina, who is hoping for a bye in the first round of the SEC tournament if they can snag one of the top six spots in the seeding.

Mississippi State is currently struggling with a 10-game losing streak, all of which were SEC games. Still winless in the conference, the Bulldogs shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for the Gamecocks (11-4-3, 4-3-3 SEC). But despite Mississippi State’s unimpressive record, South Carolina cannot look past them. It is a very important SEC match for a Gamecock team that’s coming off two ties on the road against Vanderbilt and Texas A&M.

Even with a worse conference record than some SEC teams, South Carolina is the third-highest ranked SEC team in the NSCAA poll. But that means there is very little margin for error. An upset loss to Mississippi State could easily drop the Gamecocks below No. 24 Kentucky and possibly even unranked Auburn and Georgia. However, South Carolina has performed well against both of the higher ranked SEC teams this season, with a win against No. 8 Florida and a tie against No. 7 Texas A&M. So, a win against Mississippi State this Thursday would put the Gamecocks in a great position for the SEC tournament championship.

“We can’t overlook the points that we need for the SEC,” Smith said about the upcoming match. “It’s a meaningful game.” 

Senior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo added that her team cannot treat the contest as a piece of cake because the Bulldogs could take advantage of that.

“We can’t underestimate them” D’Angelo said. “They’ll still be a good team.”

However important the SEC standings are, tonight’s game will also focus on celebrating the Gamecock seniors. All four seniors have accomplished a lot during their time at South Carolina. 

D’Angelo has received too many awards to list during her time at South Carolina, but some include First-Team All-American honors last season to go along with a SEC Defensive Player of the Year. She holds the Gamecock record for second most shutouts in a season with 12 and continues to act as a brick wall in goal every game. She plans to continue her soccer career after graduating from South Carolina.

Redshirt senior Taylor Leach also has had a fantastic Gamecock career, proving to be a vastly important part of the lockdown South Carolina defense. At center back, she has shown heart and leadership, starting nearly every game since her sophomore year. She received First Team All-SEC honors last season and was ranked as one of the top-10 SEC players in’s midseason rankings this season.

Senior Christa Neary is another vital part of the Gamecock defense. Just like Leach and D’Angelo, Neary has an SEC Defensive Player of the Week under her belt and has played in almost every game since joining the team her freshman year.

Senior Andie Romness has also logged many starts on the South Carolina defense, but has shown her versatility by also playing at midfield. She has 12 assists and a goal in her Gamecock career.

The seniors will be missed by the teammates next season and their last time all playing together at Stone Stadium should make for an emotional night.