Sept. 5, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina women’s soccer (5-0-1) remained unbeaten on the season and pushed its winning streak to five games after topping Charlotte 3-0 on Monday night at Stone Stadium. Junior forward Savannah McCaskill continued her impressive form, tallying a goal and an assist, while sophomore forward Simone Wark registered her second score of the year. With Monday’s win, the Gamecocks improved to 5-6-0 all-time against the 49ers, who sit at 3-3-0 for the season.
Carolina’s defensive effort set the tone against Charlotte, holding the 49ers to four shots on the night. The Gamecocks allowed just one attempt on frame and finished the match with a commanding 17-4 shot advantage.
McCaskill put South Carolina on the board in the 11th minute after receiving a great long ball from senior center back Kaleigh Kurtz near the left side of the box. The Chapin, S.C., native used her speed to maneuver around defenders and get herself one-on-one with Charlotte goalkeeper Anna Shelden. Once in the box, McCaskill slotted the ball past Shelden and into the heart of the net to tally her third goal in the last three days. She leads the Gamecocks with 15 points on six goals and three assists this season.
An own goal by the 49ers pushed the Gamecock lead to two in the 26th minute. Freshman forward Elexa Bahr set up the goal, charging into the right side of the box before firing a shot that gave Shelden some trouble. Her ball in eventually deflected into the net off a Charlotte defender trying to clear it away.
The Gamecocks put the match out of reach in the 74th minute after a pretty pass from McCaskill in the attacking third. Her ball into the box split a pair of defenders and found Wark, who needed just two touches before registering the late goal. Wark led all players with three shots on goal on Monday.
Carolina nearly tacked on another one right before half after Anna Conklin was taken down in the box. The Gamecocks were awarded a penalty kick, and Conklin’s ensuing attempt was saved. The junior left back created another scoring opportunity in the 51st minute after feeding a great ball to senior forward Sophie Groff deep inside the box. Groff recorded two close-range shots that were turned away by Shelden, who finished the contest with seven saves.
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Hunter Peifer made her second start of the year and played all 90 minutes in net. She recorded one save, collecting a Charlotte header in the 49th minute, and improved to 2-0-0 on the season with the win. The Gamecocks, who have outscored opponents 8-1 at home this year, attempted five corner kicks on the night.
“Overall I thought it was another good performance. We were able to play a lot of players tonight, and those that came into the game did a good job. The second half we did a better job of limiting their opportunities. It was a team effort, and we’ve gotten better every game. That’s what we want to do as we go into conference play.” – Shelley Smith
Forward Savannah McCaskill’s play in the attacking third resulted in a goal for sophomore Simone Wark and pushed Carolina’s lead to 3-0 late in the match. McCaskill’s three assists in 2016 are tied with junior left back Anna Conklin for the team lead.
South Carolina tested Charlotte goalkeeper Anna Shelden all night, putting 10 shots on frame. The Gamecocks attempted 13 more shots than the 49ers on Monday.
- South Carolina opens the season unbeaten through its first six matches for the first time since 2013. The Gamecocks went 7-0-1 over their first eight games that year and ended the season with 17 victories.
- Charlotte’s one shot on goal on Monday matched a season low for a Gamecock opponent. South Carolina held NC State to one attempt on frame in its home opener on Aug. 25.
- Junior Savannah McCaskill’s score in the 11th minute gave the forward her third game-winning goal this season. She totaled two game-winners combined in her first two seasons.
- Following Monday’s performance, McCaskill moved into a tie for fourth on South Carolina’s all-time scoring list with 59 points.
- The Gamecocks have yet to allow a goal in the first half this year. South Carolina has outscored its opponents 8-0 in the first 45 minutes of matches in 2016.
The Gamecocks open SEC play at home against Georgia on Fri., Sept. 9. The action at Stone Stadium gets underway at 7 p.m. ET.