Oct. 5, 2017
No. 3 Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Freshman forward Luciana Zullo found the back of the net in the 95th minute to give No. 3 South Carolina women’s soccer a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over Mississippi State Thursday night at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks (11-1-0, 5-0-0 SEC) remained atop the SEC standings and pushed their winning streak to nine matches with the victory over the Bulldogs (7-2-3, 1-2-2 SEC).
Zullo’s heroics capped off a back-and-forth battle that was highlighted by a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes of regulation. The Flemington, N.J., native, who netted two goals on the night, tallied the game-winner from just inside the top of the box. Zullo used her speed to create some space before slipping the ball inside the right post past the outstretched arms of Bulldog goalkeeper Catalina Perez. The goal marked the second career game-winning tally for the first-year attacker.
The Bulldogs went ahead 2-1 in the 81st minute after they were awarded a corner kick. Senior forward Mallory Eubanks sent in the ensuing cross, and the ball eventually found junior Brooke McKee after being knocked around by MSU midfielders Carly Mauldin and Kiley Martens. McKee took advantage of the final deflection and headed it home to put the Bulldogs in front.
Carolina responded a minute later when Zullo converted from inside the box. Gamecock senior forward Savannah McCaskill set up the goal, creating a loose ball in the box after her header hit off the crossbar. Zullo quickly cleaned up the rebound and scored near the right post to even the score at 2-2.
The Gamecocks, who trailed at the half, registered the equalizer in the 50th minute. Carolina sophomore center back Grace Fisk netted the goal after making a tremendous touch in front of the net. The Bromley, London, native used her right foot to pop the ball up to herself before chipping it home into the left side of the net. The scoring play gave Fisk her first career goal for the Gamecocks.
MSU took a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute when McKee sent in a dangerous cross from the right side. Her pass found Bulldog midfielder Payton Gruenewald, who elevated over multiple defenders and headed it past Carolina goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski to give Mississippi State a 1-0 lead.
The Gamecocks saw several chances for an equalizer in the final stages of the first half and ended the period with a 6-1 shot advantage. Carolina nearly broke through in the 43rd minute when freshman midfielder Lauren Chang weaved into the box and hit a shot off the crossbar. The ensuing rebound fell to McCaskill, and the senior attacker headed a shot the missed wide left.
Carolina boasted a 20-4 shot advantage for the match and attempted three of the game’s four corner kicks. Krzeczowski totaled one save in the win, while both teams racked up double-digit fouls. With the victory, the Gamecocks moved to 11-4-3 all-time against MSU.
"“I am so glad Luciana was rewarded with that goal. She took the game on her shoulders and had a great finish. She has consistently done that for us, and it was a great job by a young player. We knew Mississippi State was going to be difficult – they’re very athletic. They gave us a huge test, and there’s a reason they haven’t lost many games this year. We knew we had to play through it.” – South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith
Freshman attacker Luciana Zullo secured the victory for the Gamecocks when she beat MSU goalkeeper Catalina Perez from just inside the top of the box. Thursday’s performance marked the first career multi-goal game for Zullo.
South Carolina’s defense kept the Bulldogs in check for much of the match, holding them to just four shots for the game. MSU did not record a shot in overtime.
South Carolina continues SEC play this weekend when it faces Arkansas on the road on Sun., Oct. 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET, and the match will air on ESPNU.
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