Sept. 11, 2015
ATHENS, Ga. – A trio of Gamecocks scored as 17th ranked South Carolina opened SEC play with a 3-1 victory over Georgia on Friday night. South Carolina improves to 6-1-0 and 1-0-0 in the SEC while the loss drops the Bulldogs to 0-5-1 and 0-1-0 in league play.
The Gamecocks got on the board first with a goal by sophomore forward Sophie Groff in the 21st minute. After a corner kick from Chelsea Drennan, junior defender Paige Bendell’s header was saved by Georgia goalkeeper Louise Hogrell and senior forward Raina Johnson followed with a pair shots before Groff was able to tap one in the net off a rebound.
Georgia evened the match at 1-1 in the 39th minute on long goal from 30 yards out by Mariel Gutierrez.
South Carolina quickly responded and reclaimed the lead on a goal by Anna Conklin in the 42nd minute. Off a pass from junior forward Daija Griffin, Conklin slipped the game-winner past Hogrell into the left corner of the net.
The Gamecocks scored early in the second half to put the match out of reach for the Bulldogs. In the 47th minute, sophomore forward Savannah McCaskill tallied her fifth goal of the season and secured the 3-1 lead.
Sophomore goalkeeper Abbey Crider improved to 3-0-0 on the season. She gave up one goal and made two saves in 45 minutes of action. GAME CHANGER
Anna Conklin quickly broke a 1-1 tie and provided the game-winner in the 42nd minute.
KEY STAT South Carolina finished the match with an 18-9 shot advantage.
- Sophomore forward Sophie Groff scored her third goal of the season.
- Anna Conklin netted her first career goal.
- With Conklin’s goal, 12 different Gamecocks have scored this season.
- Daija Griffin and Raina Johnson tallied their second and third assist of the season, respectively.
- Savannah McCaskill scored her team-leading fifth goal of the season. She has matched her scoring output of five goals from her freshman campaign.
QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith
I was very proud of the team tonight. I thought they came out and did a lot of things that we talked about needing to do early. We did well getting the lead early. Georgia obviously had a great shot there, that kind of surprised us but I thought we responded well. We came back and got the goal to go ahead in the half and that was huge. That’s what we need out of this team; not everything is going to go your way and when it doesn’t, how do you respond. They did a good job at putting pressure on in the second half and give us those opportunities. Everyone did their jobs and did them well.
On Savannah McCaskill
Sometimes you worry about how sophomores respond after having such a great year. She’s been able to still find a way to be dangerous and a threat and just an excellent player and it showed tonight. She’s someone who has been key to our attack and will continue to be.
The Gamecocks return home on Monday to host Kennesaw State at Stone Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the match will be available on SEC Network +.