Sept. 18, 2016
AUBURN, Ala. – Junior forward Savannah McCaskill tallied her fifth game-winner of the season on Sunday, netting a goal in the 29th minute to give No. 14 South Carolina women’s soccer a 1-0 road victory over Auburn. The result kept the Gamecocks unbeaten (8-0-1, 2-0-0 SEC) on the year and pushed their winning streak to eight matches, while the Tigers dropped to 5-4-0 overall and 1-1-0 in league play following the loss.
McCaskill’s goal was all the Gamecocks needed in a physical battle at Auburn Soccer Complex. Both teams committed double-digit fouls, and Auburn and South Carolina each came up with three saves. The Tigers ended the contest with a 10-7 shot advantage, but they were unable to break through against a South Carolina backline that allowed just three shots on goal.
The lone goal of the game was set up by a beautiful ball into the box by senior defender Evelyn Robinson. Her pass from the top of the attacking third hit McCaskill in stride, and the junior rifled home a header past Auburn goalkeeper Sarah Le Beau. With the score, the Chapin, S.C., native pushed her SEC-leading goal total to nine, while Robinson recorded her first career point for South Carolina.
McCaskill was active in the attacking third throughout the first half, starting in the 18th minute when she received a pass from senior midfielder Chelsea Drennan and fired a shot the missed wide right. In the 24th minute, Drennan again found McCaskill, who raced to the right side of the box before laying off a pass that couldn’t connect with a Carolina attacker. The Gamecocks held a 4-3 shot advantage in the first half and attempted three corner kicks throughout the opening 45 minutes.
The Tigers tested the Carolina defense out of the break, sending in multiple dangerous balls into the box. Auburn’s cross from the right side in the 60th minute was cleared away by senior center back Paige Bendell, who used her foot to knock the ball out of bounds. The Tigers attempted three-straight corner kicks over the next minute, with each attempt unable to produce a quality chance.
Minutes later, the Tigers sent another ball into the box that resulted in a clean header for Casie Ramsier. The Auburn midfielder didn’t get much on her attempt, which was easily saved by South Carolina freshman goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski.
South Carolina saw a scoring chance in the 68th minute when sophomore forward Simone Wark slipped a pass to McCaskill down the right sideline. McCaskill used her speed to chase the ball down and flick a cross into the box that couldn’t connect with fellow forward Elexa Bahr. In the 73rd minute, Bendell had a clean header in the box that was gathered by Le Beau.
Krzeczowski moved to 5-0-1 in 2016 following the win. Auburn held a 7-6 advantage in corner kicks, and the Gamecocks improved to 11-6-4 all-time against the Tigers with Sunday’s win.
“It was a battle that we expected. Auburn is a great team, and we knew we had a tough task ahead of us. I’m very proud of the girls, and I thought we had a great first half. It’s always difficult to get a win on the road, but everyone did their part.” — South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith
The Tigers put just three of their 10 shot attempts on frame on Sunday. South Carolina has limited eight of its nine opponents this year to three or fewer attempts on target.
- With the victory, the Gamecocks moved to 12-0 in September matches since 2015.
- South Carolina has yet to allow a goal in the last 372 minutes of game action dating back to the Clemson match (Sept. 3).
- Sunday marked the first time the Gamecocks were outshot this season.
- Junior forward Savannah McCaskill has now registered at least one point in six of South Carolina’s nine matches in 2016.
- Senior Evelyn Robinson became the third Gamecock defender to record an assist this season. Defenders have combined for eight assists on the year.
The Gamecocks resume SEC play on Thu., Sept. 22, when they play host to LSU at Stone Stadium. Kickoff between South Carolina and the Tigers is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will air on SEC Network+, available through WatchESPN.