Oct. 16, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Senior midfielder Chelsea Drennan converted a penalty kick in the 103rd minute to lift No. 2 South Carolina women’s soccer to a 1-0 overtime win over No. 17 Florida Sunday afternoon at Stone Stadium. The senior captain’s game-winner secured the 14th-straight victory for the Gamecocks (14-0-1), who now boast their best start to a season in program history. Carolina (8-0-0 SEC) remains atop the conference standings with three matches to play, while the Gators dropped to 10-4-0 overall and 5-3-0 in league play with the loss.
The Gamecocks were awarded a penalty kick after a beautiful give-and-go play between forwards Savannah McCaskill and Simone Wark in the attacking third. Wark slipped a pass to McCaskill, who used her heel to flick the ball back to Wark near the top of the box. McCaskill’s delivery ricocheted off the leg of Wark, and the sophomore raced after the ball before she was taken down by a Florida defender. Drennan ended the match with her ensuing penalty kick, rifling the ball into the top left corner past Florida goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese. The goal gave the Gamecocks their first win in overtime this season.
Carolina sported a 15-9 shot advantage for the match and put seven attempts on frame. The Gators, who didn’t attempt a shot in overtime, were limited to four shots on goal and five corner kicks for the match. Gamecock freshman goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski collected four saves, including a diving stop in the 43rd minute to thwart a one-one-one opportunity for Florida.
After putting a pair of shots on goal in the opening 45 minutes, the Gamecocks saw two quality scoring chances in the second period. In the 65th minute, McCaskill made a nice move to evade the Gator defense and send in a cross from the right side to senior Sophie Groff at the far post. The forward one-timed a shot that missed wide, and the danger was cleared. Fifteen minutes later, senior attacker Daija Griffin raced pass the Gator back line and laid off a great pass that sent the ball into a pocket of space directly in front of net. Gamecocks Claire Studebaker and Elexa Bahr were in the area, but neither forward could get to the ball in time.
Florida’s best chance of the match came in the 85th minute when forward Savannah Jordan’s header in front of net missed wide right. South Carolina finished the contest with 10 fouls compared to nine for the Gators, who tallied six saves in the loss. Krzeczowski moved to 11-0-1 on the year following Sunday’s result.
“Any point is huge in the SEC, and right now we want to keeping winning and control our destiny. That’s a tough way to lose and a great way to win. Credit to Florida. We knew coming in we’d have a battle, and somebody had to come up with a big play.” — South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith.
Senior captain Chelsea Drennan’s penalty kick in the 103rd minute marked the game-winner against the Gators. Her score was the midfielder’s second career game-winning goal.
South Carolina held Florida to just two shots on goal after halftime. The Gators entered this weekend with an SEC-leading 2.77 goals per match.
- With a record of 14-0-1, the Gamecocks sport their longest unbeaten streak in school history.
- South Carolina has allowed just two goals in SEC play and outscored opponents 24-2 at home this season.
- Sunday marked Carolina’s third win over a top-20 opponent in 2016. The Gamecocks downed No. 11 Arkansas (Oct. 9) and No. 6 Clemson (Sept. 3), and all three victories came at Stone Stadium.
- After tallying just three victories in their first 22 matches against Florida, the Gamecocks have now won three of their last five games in the series. Eight of the last nine contests between the two have been decided by one goal or less.
South Carolina continues SEC play Thursday (Oct. 20) on the road against Vanderbilt. The match against the Commodores, one of two conference road games for Carolina this week, kicks off at 8 p.m. ET. It can be seen on SEC Network+, available through WatchESPN.