Aug. 21, 2016
NORMAN, Okla. — Paced by junior forward Savannah McCaskill’s first career hat trick, No. 24 South Carolina concluded play at the Nike Sooner Classic with a 4-1 win over Tulsa Sunday afternoon at John Crain Field. With the victory, the Gamecocks moved to 1-0-1 on the season, while the Golden Hurricane dropped to 0-1-1. McCaskill’s efforts marked the seventh hat trick in program history.
Daniel put the Gamecocks on the board in the early going, netting her fourth career goal in the eighth minute. Anna Conklin created the scoring play, as the junior defender found some space and delivered the ball to Daniel in the left side of the box. Daniel gathered the pass and floated a shot into the top right corner of the net past outstretched arms of Tulsa keeper Courtney McKeon.
From there McCaskill took over, tallying three goals to put the Gamecocks in firm control. Her first score was set up by Daniel in the 10th minute after South Carolina was award a corner kick. Senior captain Chelsea Drennan took the corner and quickly slipped a pass to Daniel, whose cross found McCaskill in front of the net. The forward elevated over the Tulsa defense and sent a header into the top of the net past McKeon to make it 2-0.
Each of McCaskill’s next two goals came from outside of the box, starting in the 59th minute. The Irmo, S.C., native collected a pass from Conklin and rifled a bending shot that curled into the top left corner to push the South Carolina advantage to 3-0. Her strong afternoon continued in the 87th minute when the Gamecocks were awarded a free kick near the top of box. McCaskill again located the top left corner, sending the ball past McKeon to give South Carolina a 4-1 lead.
Tulsa’s lone goal came in the 70th minute when forward Regan Whitlow found some space outside of the box and fired a shot that beat South Carolina goalkeeper Hunter Peifer. The goal was one of just three shots on target for the Golden Hurricane.
The Gamecocks, who put seven of their 10 first-half shots on frame, saw several other scoring chances in the final 15 minutes of the contest. In the 77th minute, Drennan’s corner kick gave McKeon trouble, but the South Carolina attack was unable to take advantage of the loose ball in the box. Six minutes later, McCaskill maneuvered into the box around the Tulsa defense and fired a shot that sailed high.
South Carolina put 11 attempts on goal throughout the afternoon and ended the match with an 18-11 shot advantage. Peifer made two saves, as she earned her first career win, while the Gamecocks held the Golden Hurricane to just two shots over the final 45 minutes.
“Today was a great result for us as a group. We created opportunities, and we put away our chances. They deserved the win, and I was very happy with the performance. Obviously, Savannah had a great weekend, and she was rewarded with some goals today. She took some tremendous shots that were hard to stop.” – Women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith
South Carolina took control of the contest following McCaskill’s goal in the 10th minute. The Gamecocks maintained a two-goal lead the rest of the way.
The Gamecocks limited the Golden Hurricane to just three shots on goal in Sunday’s win. Tulsa put just one shot on frame in the second half.
- Sunday marked South Carolina’s first victory over the Golden Hurricane. Both matches between the two have been neutral contests.
- Junior forward Savannah McCaskill became the sixth player in school history to notch a hat trick, joining former Gamecocks Brooke Jacobs, Erin Sullivan, Jennie Ondo, Debbie Smith and Perry Moniuszko. She’s the first South Carolina player to accomplish the feat since 2010.
- Junior defender Anna Conklin recorded her first and second career assists in the victory over Tulsa.
- Redshirt senior forward Bay Daniel matched her career high with three points on Sunday. She also tallied three points as a redshirt freshman against SMU in 2013.
South Carolina resumes play on Thursday when it hosts NC State in its home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.