Oct. 22, 2015
GAINESVILLE, Fla. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” In a battle of top teams in the Southeastern Conference, Florida’s Liz Slattery’s last-second goal in overtime lifted the No. 8 Gators (12-3-1, 6-2-1 SEC) past No. 17 South Carolina (11-4-1, 5-3-1 SEC), 2-1, on Thursday night at James G. Pressly stadium.
Slattery’s game-winner came following a scramble for the ball in the box as the clocked wound down. The loose ball found the midfielder, who chipped it into the top corner of the net over the outstretched hands of South Carolina goalkeeper Caroline Kelly.
Both of the goals in regulation came in the early going, starting in the sixth minute when South Carolina opened the scoring following a throw in by senior defender Carly Ray. Ray’s pass into the box was mishandled by Florida keeper Kaylan Marckese, and sophomore forward Savannah McCaskill took advantage of the miscue, chipping the loose ball into the top corner of the net with the outside of her right foot.
Florida responded in the 21st minute on a long volley from Christen Westphal. Her pass from midfield found Savannah Jordan, who raced into the box and slipped the ball into the right side of the net past Kelly.
South Carolina forward Raina Johnson saw a pair of quality scoring chances out of the break, beginning in the 55th minute. A through ball found the senior, and she gathered the pass before firing a shot the was blocked by the Florida defense.
Two minutes later, a give-and-go between Johnson and McCaskill left Johnson with the ball deep in the box. Her shot was turned away by the Florida keeper, and the danger was cleared.
Neither team produced a serious scoring threat for the remainder of regulation, and the two headed to overtime. South Carolina’s final quality scoring chance came in the 105th minute when after McCaskill earned a foul outside of the box. Her ensuing free kick found the head of Kaleigh Kurtz, who sent the ball wide left of the net.
South Carolina outshot the Gators, 14-13, for the match and each team put six shots on frame in the contest. Kelly recorded four saves in the setback, as she fell to 5-3-1 on the season. GAME CHANGER
Slattery’s game-winner in overtime proved to be the difference in Thursday’s contest. It marked the fourth goal of the season for the Florida midfielder.
KEY STAT Despite being outshot, the Gators finished the match with a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks.
- Sophomore forward Savannah McCaskill became the third Gamecock to record double-digit goals in a season over the last five years. Raina Johnson notched 11 goals in 2013, and Kayla Grimsley scored 10 times during the 2011 season.
- The Gamecocks saw their two-game winning streak against top-10 teams snapped following Thursday’s loss. South Carolina tallied wins over No. 8 Auburn (Oct. 8) and No. 4 Texas A&M (Sept. 24) earlier this season.
- Seven of the last eight matches between the Gamecocks and Gators have been decided by one goal. South Carolina sports a record of 4-4 against Florida during that stretch.
- Senior Carly Ray recorded her third assist of the season on South Carolina’s goal in the sixth minute. The senior entered this year without an assist through her first three seasons at South Carolina.
UP NEXT The Gamecocks play their final road match of the season this weekend when they face LSU on Sunday. Kickoff from LSU Soccer Stadium is set for 2 p.m. ET.