Gamecocks Advance to SEC Tournament Semis with 3-2 Win
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s soccer (7-2-0, 7-2-0 SEC) held on to take out Missouri (4-3-2, 4-3-2 SEC) 3-2 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. Lauren Chang, Sutton Jones and Catherine Barry all scored goals in the win with Barry’s counting as the gamewinner.
“It’s a difficult road, but we know what it takes to win matches here,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “It’s not always pretty, tonight was a good example of that. I think even last year one of our more difficult games was our first one. We got through that and settled down and played really well after that. I thought we had a great first half tonight, I thought the second half then became a little hectic. We’re better than what we showed, so we’ll take this and be better the next time out.”
Carolina jumped on the Tigers early with Chang’s goal coming just 4:24 into the contest. After a Jyllissa Harris corner kick was knocked down by Sutton Jones and Anna Patten, Chang approached the ball and fired a left-footed shot into the left side of the net to give Carolina it’s fastest goal this season.
“We talked in our scouting session that it was imperative that we get corners tonight and it is a really big part of our game,” Chang said. “I’m just glad I was able to see the rebound and get the ball in the back of the net early to give us some great momentum.”
The Gamecocks added their second goal just 14 minutes later when Jones fired from long range that sailed into the top right of the net, doubling the lead. Jones was set up by Barry, who registered her second multi-point performance of the season.
After outshooting the Tigers 6-3 in the first half the Gamecocks were back at it early in the second half. Barry received a dangerous cross from Ryan Gareis that she used to turn and fire into the back of the net. The goal for Barry was her third of the season against the Tigers and her fourth overall.
“Obviously it was exciting [making her debut at the SEC Tournament],” Barry said after the match. “It was honestly just a thrill to be out here today, but at the end of the day it is just soccer and this is what we’ve trained for. Once that first whistle blew, I just knew we had to put our heads down and do what we know we can do.”
Missouri made it a battle with a goal just 14 seconds later when Bella Alessi put the Tigers on the board. The match tightened even more in the 59th minute when Julissa Cisneros notched her second goal of the season making it 3-2 with 30 minutes remaining.
With the match coming down to the wire the Gamecocks defense was able to strengthen, keeping Missouri out of dangerous positions for the majority of the final 30 minutes outside of one shot that Heather Hinz was able to save.
The Gamecocks will be back in action on Thursday, Nov. 19, when they take on No. 7 Arkansas at 7 p.m. in a rematch of the 2019 SEC Tournament final. South Carolina defeated Arkansas 2-1 earlier this season, in Fayetteville.
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