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Aug. 21, 2015

Box Score

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina junior midfielder Chelsea Drennan tallied a career-high four points in a winning effort for the No. 11 Gamecocks, who opened their 2015 campaign with a 4-1 victory over Northeastern on Friday night at Stone Stadium.

Drennan sparked the South Carolina offense throughout the match, and three second-half goals pushed the Gamecocks past the Huskies in front of a crowd of 5,875.

A Drennan corner kick connected with sophomore forward Savannah McCaskill, who opened the scoring in the second minute after heading the ball past Northeastern keeper Jill Quinn.

Drennan’s second assist came in the 64th minute when she threaded a pass to senior forward Raina Johnson near the right side of the box. Johnson used her speed to get around the Husky defense and floated a shot over Quinn into the top left corner of the net.

In the 74th minute, it was Drennan on the scoring end. A great ball in by freshman forward Simone Wark from the right side found Drennan, and the midfielder was able to get a foot on the pass and deflect the ball into the net.

The Huskies’ lone goal of the game came less than five minutes after McCaskill put the Gamecocks on the board. Northeastern defender Kimberly Slade sent a dangerous ball into the box, and Mackenzie Dowd headed the ball to Taylor Caparo. Caparo collected the pass and slipped the ball by South Carolina keeper Abbey Crider.

Crider earned the start and played the first 45 minutes. She was replaced at halftime by senior Caroline Kelly, who recorded one save and held Northeastern scoreless for the remainder of the match. The Gamecocks outshot Northeastern, 17-7, for the game and produced six corner kicks on the night.

Game Changer
South Carolina defender Caroline Gray provided the game-winner, as she notched her first career goal in the 53rd minute. Her attempted cross from well outside the box floated past Quinn and deflected off the post and into the net.

Key Stat
Just two of Northeastern’s seven shots in the match were on frame on Friday. South Carolina finished the contest with 11 shots on target.

South Carolina’s four goals against Northeastern marked its highest scoring output since the 2013 season. The last time the Gamecocks scored four goals was against Vanderbilt (Oct. 25, 2013).
With Friday’s victory, the Gamecocks improved to 4-0 all-time against Northeastern. South Carolina has defeated the Huskies twice in the last two seasons.
>> South Carolina pushed its unbeaten streak in season openers to nine following the victory over the Huskies. The Gamecocks are 7-0-2 during that stretch.
>> Two more assists from Drennan on Friday gave her 21 career assists at South Carolina. She is now just one of three Gamecocks with at least 20 all-time assists.

South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith
I thought we came out on fire and put them under a lot of pressure. Unfortunately we gave up a goal right after, but the team responded well in the second half. I was proud of the overall effort, and we finished the game off very well. Tonight is something we can build on.

Chelsea Drennan, Junior Midfielder
We wanted to start out quickly tonight and get on top early. That’s what we did and our plan worked very well. We always try and get goals in the first five minutes of either the first or second half.

Up Next
South Carolina is back in action at Stone Stadium on Sunday when it hosts Oklahoma. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.