COLUMBIA, S.C. — COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina women's soccer program has been projected to finish second in the SEC preseason coaches' poll, announced by the Southeastern Conference on Tuesday. The second-place selection is the Gamecocks' highest preseason projection since divisions were eliminated after the 2013 season.
 
The Gamecocks sit just behind preseason favorite Texas A&M and are in front of 2018 regular-season champion Vanderbilt, which ranks third, followed by Tennessee and Florida to round out the preseason top five.
 
"We're really excited to get this season started. We know the SEC is a tough conference top to bottom, and we will be challenged all season long," head coach Shelley Smith said. "We are thankful for the respect, but now we want to make sure we go out and earn that respect and ranking throughout the season."
 
Last season, the Gamecocks finished in a tie for third in the SEC with a 6-3-1 conference record. South Carolina returns nine starters from its final 2018 starting lineup, a squad that reached the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament.
 
Carolina will play the entire top five of the SEC preseason coaches' poll in 2019, excluding preseason favorite Texas A&M. The Gamecocks will match up with Vanderbilt on Oct. 13, Tennessee on Oct. 18 and Florida on Oct. 27.
 
Before the SEC season begins, the Gamecocks will play eight non-conference matches, which begin next Thursday at Stone Stadium when No. 21 NC State comes to Columbia.
 
Season tickets are on sale now, with soccer fans yet again getting a great deal. For $25 for adults and $10 for youth 17 and under, purchasers receive a season ticket to every women and men's soccer match this season. To take advantage of the offer, click here, call 800-472-3267 or visit GamecocksOnline.com/Tickets.
 
For more information on the Gamecocks, continue to check back with GamecocksOnline.com. Subscribe to South Carolina on Stanza to get schedule updates directly in your calendars. 
 
Keep up with Carolina women's soccer on Twitter and Instagram (@GamecockWSoccer) and on Facebook, so you do not miss any content during the 2019 season.
 
Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Texas A&M
2. South Carolina
3. Vanderbilt
4. Tennessee
5. Florida
6. Arkansas
7. Auburn
8. Ole Miss
9. Alabama
10. Missouri
11. Mississippi State
12. LSU
13. Georgia
14. Kentucky