Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn set to face South Carolina in SEC Tournament

<p>Sydney Richards (14) kicks the ball during the Auburn Women's soccer game against South Carolina on Oct. 31, 2019, in Auburn, Alabama.</p>

Sydney Richards (14) kicks the ball during the Auburn Women's soccer game against South Carolina on Oct. 31, 2019, in Auburn, Alabama.

Auburn’s big day is finally here.

It’s been patiently waiting for another stab at the SEC Tournament since being sent home by Arkansas in last year’s quarterfinals.

That patience is about to pay off as Auburn suits up to face South Carolina at 7:30 p.m. CST for the second meeting between the two teams this fall. 

This time, it’s for all the marbles.

Auburn has faced South Carolina just once before in single-elimination style, with the Tigers walking away with a win on penalty kicks back in 2015.

"We start over now at the SEC Tournament at 0-0, and it's a new season for us," said Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa. "There's no easy draw in this league, but South Carolina is an excellent team.”

The annual tournament is hosted in Orange Beach, Alabama, where it’s been held since the 2003 season. The Tigers’ record at the tournament since the move sits at 10-15-4 while this year’s appearance is 21 straight for the Tigers, tied for the longest streak in the conference.

Players to Watch:

Auburn is home to the 2021 SEC Defender of the Year, where Alyssa Malonson has been heading the stingy Tiger defense as a center-back and one of the better two-way players in the conference. 

Her 2021 contributions on the field have lifted Auburn to a league-leading seven shutouts while protecting talented sophomore goalkeeper Maddie Prohaska between the posts. Prohaska has the third-best goals-against average in the conference, only trailing Arkansas’ and Tennessee’s talented goalkeepers.

Malonson makes history every time she’s in the starting lineup for the Tigers as she continues to extend the program‘s longest consecutive start count, as well as the most total starts by a Tiger ever. When she takes the field against South Carolina in her usual starting-11 role, it will be her 95th consecutive start in an Auburn uniform.

Notching her first goal in six games against a ranked Ole Miss to increase her team lead count to nine, Anna Haddock’s success on the offensive of the ball will be pivotal in Auburn’s game plan to down the Gamecocks on the biggest stage.

Haddock joins Malonson as an honoree on the All-SEC First Team, marking the first time Auburn has had multiple players named to the First Team since 2017.

Haddock and fellow forward Sydney Richards have accounted for 65% of the Tigers’ scoring this season (22 of 34 goals), including the last 14 out of 16 goals for the orange and blue.

While it was at the top of the SEC standings just a few weeks ago, South Carolina now sits just one spot above Auburn at No. 4 in the conference. 

Don’t let this ranking fool you.

South Carolina is as much a top-3 opponent as any of the three teams ahead of it.

The Gamecocks sputtered after a strong undefeated showing to start the season 4-0 in league play. Since then, it’s dropped three matches and tied with a .500 Georgia team in league play.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

South Carolina’s scoring is a whole team effort.

Catherine Barry leads the team in goals with six goals and has one of the highest shot on goal percentages on the team, while three Gamecocks follow suit with four goals each. This includes South Carolina’s top player on the defensive side of the ball, Jyllissa Harris.

The senior Harris was named to the All-SEC First Team and All-SEC Tournament Team in 2019 en route to South Carolina’s three consecutive shutout wins and sweep of the SEC Tournament. After the season, she received national honors, as she was recognized as Scholar All-Region and All-Southeast Region.

Harris joins Malonson on the backline of this year’s All-SEC First Team.

"We obviously are biased being in the conference, but we feel like the SEC Soccer Tournament is the premier conference tournament in the country," Hoppa said. "It's just a tremendous atmosphere, it's a great location and, as I mentioned earlier. The competition makes it one of the best tournaments in the country. Every game is exciting. Every game is close. Anybody can beat anybody down here.”

If the Tigers can pull off a win against South Carolina, they will advance to the semifinals for the first time since the 2016 season.

Both teams sit at an 11-5-1 record entering the tournament.

The Tigers and the Gamecocks get down to business in a winner-take-all on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. CST. The match will be live broadcast on the SECN+.

Follow The Plainsman and @ReportingLarry for continued coverage of Auburn’s time at the SEC Tournament.

Larry Robinson | Photo Editor

Larry is a senior studying journalism with a minor in sociology. He is from Enterprise, Alabama and is in his third year with The Auburn Plainsman. 

Twitter: @ReportingLarry

Share and discuss “Auburn set to face South Carolina in SEC Tournament” on social media.