Oct. 8, 2017
No. 3 Women's Soccer at Arkansas
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 3 South Carolina women's soccer extended its winning streak to 10 games after topping Arkansas 2-0 Sunday night at Razorback Field. Senior forward Savannah McCaskill and freshman midfielder Bianca Galassini netted first-half goals for the Gamecocks (12-1, 6-0-0 SEC), who remained atop the SEC standings with the victory over the Razorbacks (7-7-1, 2-3-1 SEC).
Carolina grabbed control of the match with a pair of goals late in the first half. McCaskill opened the scoring for the Gamecocks in the 40th minute after getting in front of a Razorback defender and one timing a shot that tucked the ball inside the right post past Arkansas goalkeeper Jordan Harris. Freshman Breukelen Woodard set up the tally with a pass into the box from the right side.
Carolina stretched its lead to 2-0 two minutes later when freshman attacker Luciana Zullo used her speed to race by a pair of defenders and create a one-on-one chance in the box. Her blocked shot attempt sent the ball to Galassini near the right post, and the first-year midfielder weaved around an Arkansas defender before finding the back of the net with Harris off her line.
Sophomore goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski and the Carolina back line shined Sunday and helped the Gamecocks earn their fifth clean sheet in league play. Krzeczowski notched three saves for the match, including a great stop in the 30th minute when she denied a shot from inside the box by Arkansas midfielder Kayla McKeon.
The Gamecocks produced several blocks throughout the contest, and the Razorbacks finished with just three shots on target. Gamecock freshman right back Sarah Eskew threw her leg in front of a short-range attempt by Arkansas defender Jessi Hartzler in the 23rd minute to stifle a scoring chance, and McCaskill registered a pair of blocks in the 74th minute to keep Carolina in front 2-0.
McCaskill, who attempted three shots throughout the game, nearly put Carolina on the board in the 10th minute when she received a through ball that led to a one-on-one chance against Harris. The Chapin, S.C., native dribbled towards the box before firing a shot that hit off the left post. In the 24th minute, Gamecock freshman attacker Ryan Gareis maneuvered around a pair of defenders and hit a shot that required a diving side by Harris near the right post.
Carolina continued to put pressure on the Arkansas defense in the second period, starting in the 53rd minute when McCaskill sent a beautiful cross to fellow attacker Elexa Bahr near the right side of the box. Bahr was unable to get her right foot on the pass, and the danger was cleared. In the 73rd minute, McCaskill's blocked shot from 18 yards out created a dangerous rebound opportunity in the box. Woodard charged towards the loose ball, but Harris was able to gather it and end the chance.
South Carolina held the Razorbacks to 11 shots in the match, and Arkansas put just one attempt on frame over the final 45 minutes. The Gamecocks, who sported a 5-4 advantage in corner kicks, recorded 14 shots and put four attempts on target. Carolina improved to 13-3-3 all-time against Arkansas with the win.
"We came out and played very well from the start. Our early goals put the pressure on Arkansas, and we handled the second half well. I'm very proud of how our girls played, and it was a great team effort. Scoring early helps, and I was really happy with how we put the ball away. Mikayla (Krzeczowski) came up with huge saves, and she has been huge for us all season. And the players in front of her are solid - we did a great job to stick together." -- South Carolina women's soccer coach Shelley Smith
The Gamecocks netted two goals in two minutes late in the first half after senior striker Savannah McCaskill and freshman midfielder Bianca Galassini found the back of the net. The two minutes between scores marked the shortest time between goals for Carolina this season.
South Carolina's back line did a good job to block several Arkansas shot attempts, and the Razorbacks managed just three attempts on target. Sunday was the eighth time the Gamecocks allowed three or less shots on frame this season.
The Gamecocks return to action next week when they host Vanderbilt on Sun., Oct. 15, at Stone Stadium. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET, and the match can be seen on SEC Network.
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