Sept. 21, 2017
No. 3 Women's Soccer vs. Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- No. 3 South Carolina women's soccer topped Kentucky 1-0 to notch its sixth-straight victory Thursday night at the Bell Soccer Complex. Gamecock senior forward Savannah McCaskill provided the game-winner after finding the back of the net in the 80th minute. Carolina (8-1-0, 2-0-0 SEC) stayed perfect in conference play with the win over the Wildcats (5-6-0, 0-2-0 SEC).
The Gamecocks remained in control throughout the match and held Kentucky to just one shot attempt on the night. Carolina spent much of the game on the attack and finished the match with 15 shots and eight attempts on goal.
McCaskill's late game-winner resulted from a defensive miscue that left the forward with the ball near the right side of the attacking third. Kentucky's failed clearance set up the Chapin, S.C., native near the top of the box, and McCaskill hit a beautiful chip shot that sent the ball into the top left corner of the net past Kentucky goalkeeper Evangeline Soucie.
Carolina boasted all of the scoring chances in the opening half, outshooting Kentucky 8-0 for the period. McCaskill produced the first quality opportunity in the 13th minute when she danced around the Wildcat defense before hitting a shot that called for a diving save. Six minutes later, the senior one-timed a great pass to Meaghan Carrigan to set up the fellow Gamecock striker for a chance in the box. Soucie stymied the chance and came off her line to gather the loose ball.
McCaskill saw two more chances to put Carolina in front in the first half, starting in the 28th minute. A cross from sophomore Elexa Bahr eventually led to a loose ball in the box that fell to the senior forward. She alertly hit a shot that headed towards goal before being cleared off the line by a Wildcat defender. Gamecock senior midfielder Lindsey Lane set up another opportunity for McCaskill in the 34th minute after threading a well-placed through ball to the striker on the counterattack. McCaskill quickly collected the pass and charged towards goal, but Soucie again came off her line and prevented a shot attempt from inside the box.
The Gamecocks continued to press for a goal out of the break, as forward Ryan Gareis produced a pair of chances early in the period. A great turn from the freshman in the 57th minute set her up for a 1v1 opportunity in the box, but Soucie made the save to keep the score at 0-0. Two minutes later, Gareis found some space near the left side and sent in a cross to Bahr. The sophomore attacker put a shot on goal that was again denied by Soucie.
McCaskill nearly put Carolina in front in the 69th minute when she received a great through ball from freshman midfielder Lauren Chang. The Gamecock attacker floated a shot on target that threatened goal before being cleared off the line by a Kentucky defender.
Carolina sophomore goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski did a great job all night to come off her line when the Wildcats did send passes into the box. She earned her fifth shutout of the season Thursday night.
"It was a great road win -- I thought we had a lot of the possession tonight. We had some good chances, but we couldn't find the back of the net until late. I am proud of the girls for sticking with it. We stayed with our game plan and eventually got the goal." - South Carolina women's soccer coach Shelley Smith
South Carolina finally broke through when senior striker Savannah McCaskill chipped home a goal in the 80th minute. McCaskill's two game-winners and four goals in 2017 are both tied for the team lead.
Kentucky was unable to produce a quality chance throughout Thursday's contest, finishing with just one shot attempt for the match. The Wildcats didn't put a single attempt on goal in the loss.
The Gamecocks return to action this weekend when they play host to No. 21 Tennessee on Sun., Sept. 24. Sunday's top-25 battle at Stone Stadium, which kicks off at 2 p.m. ET, can be seen on SEC Network+ through WatchESPN.
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