Oct. 8, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina forwards Savannah McCaskill and Raina Johnson both notched first half goals to lead the No. 10 Gamecocks (11-1-1, 5-0-1 SEC) to a 2-0 win over No. 8 Auburn (11-2-0, 4-2 SEC) on Thursday night at Stone Stadium. With the victory, South Carolina pushed its unbeaten streak to 10 matches and remained atop the league standings.
The Gamecocks once again struck early when McCaskill registered her team-leading ninth goal in the 10th minute. Defender Caroline Gray provided the assist on the goal, as the senior threaded a beautiful through pass in the attacking third to McCaskill, who charged into the box and rifled a shot over the head of Auburn keeper Sarah Le Beau.
Less than 10 minutes later (18′), it was McCaskill who set up South Carolina’s next goal. Her through ball into the box bounced off the foot of an Auburn defender and found Raina Johnson, and the senior forward gathered the pass before slipping a shot past a diving Le Beau into the right side of the net.
The Tigers, who maintained much of the possession over the final 60 minutes of the match, appeared to get on the board in the 74th minute when Brooke Ramsier received a long pass inside the box. She gathered the ball and fired it into the back of the net before being ruled offisides by the linesman.
Auburn boasted a 9-8 shot advantage in Thursday’s match-up of the SEC’s top two teams, but finished the game with just three shots on frame. South Carolina sophomore goalkeeper Abbey Crider (6-0-0) remained perfect on the season for a Gamecock team that recorded its third clean sheet in SEC play this season.
The Tigers, who saw their five-game winning streak snapped, almost cut the Gamecocks’ deficit to one (2-1) in the 36th minute when midfielder Courtney Schnell charged towards the South Carolina box all alone with the ball. Crider came off her line to confront Schnell, who fired a shot that deflected off the left post and just avoided going over the goal line.
KEY STAT Despite being outshot, the Gamecocks held a 4-3 advantage in attempts on goal in the win over the Tigers.
- Thursday’s victory marked South Carolina’s second win over a ranked opponent this season. Both have come against teams ranked in the top 10 (No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 8 Auburn).
- The Tigers were held scoreless for the first time this season in the loss. Auburn entered the match averaging just over two goals (2.08) per contest.
- McCaskill’s goal in the 10th minute marked the eighth goal the Gamecocks have scored in the opening 10 minutes of a match this season.
- Johnson has now tallied a point in four straight matches for South Carolina, dating back to the Gamecocks’ victory over the Aggies (Sept. 24). The senior ranks third on the team with 13 points this season.
QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith
It was definitely not our normal preparation for the game. We weren’t together as much this week leading up to the match, but the team did very well to come together. We are a resilient group, and we’ve had to deal with adversity before. Our senior leadership took control, and I am thankful we were able to get the win tonight against a good Auburn team.
The Gamecocks resume SEC play on Sunday (Oct. 11) when they face Ole Miss on the road. The match kicks off at 8 p.m. ET.