Sept. 9, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Junior forward Savannah McCaskill continued to fill up the stat sheet on Friday, tallying two goals and an assist to lead No. 24 South Carolina women’s soccer to a 3-0 victory in its SEC opener against Georgia at Stone Stadium. The victory kept the Gamecocks (6-0-1) atop the league standings and pushed their winning streak to six matches. Georgia dropped to 2-4-1 on the year following the result.
McCaskill’s performance marked her third multi-goal game of the season for South Carolina, which boasted a 15-3 shot advantage on Friday. Senior forward Sophie Groff also registered a goal, while senior midfielder Chelsea Drennan recorded an assist to move one away from the program record of 33.
South Carolina again opened the scoring early, breaking through in the eighth minute. Attacker Daija Griffin created the scoring chance, as the senior made a nifty move to get around a defender before sending the ball into the box from the right side. McCaskill met the pass at the near post and rifled the ball into the corner of the net to put the Gamecocks in front. Griffin, who notched three shots on the night, earned her eighth career assist on the goal.
The Gamecocks didn’t waste much time out of the half to push their advantage to two. It was again McCaskill, who gathered a pass from junior midfielder Dominique Babbitt and charged into the box past the Georgia back line. She had just the keeper to beat, and the forward flicked a shot into the left side of the net to make it 2-0 in the 49th minute.
South Carolina put the game away less than three minutes later following a series of nice passes. Drennan found McCaskill down the right side of the attacking third, and the junior used her speed to get into the box and deliver the ball to the far post. Groff received the pass in stride and one-timed a shot into the back of the net. The goal in the 52nd minute was the first of the year for the Grapevine, Texas, native.
Freshman goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski picked up her second shutout on the year in the win, as she improved to 4-0-1. Her night was highlighted by a diving save in the 48th minute when the Bulldogs fired a shot from close range. It was one of just two attempts on frame for Georgia, which became the sixth team this year to record three or fewer shots on goal against South Carolina. The Gamecocks boasted a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks, and both teams committed seven fouls. Georgia goalkeeper Louise Hogrell tallied three saves in the loss.
“This team has really done a nice job each game to come out and stick to the game plan. We finished chances early again, and we’re thrilled to start SEC play off with a win against a good Georgia team. When you score early it helps, and it changes how you play. I thought we did well to prepare for this evening, and we showed what we could do against an SEC opponent.” — South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith
With Georgia on the ropes, South Carolina put together two nice passes to set up senior forward Sophie Groff’s goal in the 52nd minute and make it 3-0. The scoring play marked Groff’s 16th career goal.
South Carolina held Georgia to just three shots, the fewest attempts for a Gamecock opponent this season.
- South Carolina has won each of its last three SEC openers, and Friday’s win improved its overall record against Georgia to 8-15-3.
- Junior forward Savannah McCaskill’s goal in the eighth minute marked the fourth time this season the Gamecocks have scored in the opening 10 minutes of a match.
- With five more points on Friday, McCaskill moved into third place on South Carolina’s all-time scoring list with 64 for her career. She sits 51 points shy of former Gamecock Jennie Ondo, who ranks second with 115.
- South Carolina has yet to allow a goal in the first half this season.
- The Gamecocks have outscored opponents 11-1 at home this season.
The Gamecocks conclude their four-game homestand on Thu., Sept. 15, when they face UNC Greensboro at Stone Stadium at 6 p.m. ET. The contest will mark South Carolina’s final non-conference match of the regular season.