Women's soccer: South Carolina wins seventh straight in dramatic OT battle with Tennessee
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Freshman midfielder Lauren Chang netted a goal in the 95th minute to give No. 3 South Carolina women’s soccer a dramatic 1-0 victory over No. 21 Tennessee in Sunday’s top 25 battle at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks (9-1-0, 3-0-0 SEC) pushed their winning streak to seven games and remained atop the SEC standings with the win, while the Volunteers (9-1-1, 1-1-1 SEC) suffered their first loss of the season in the setback.
Chang notched the game-winning tally after Carolina earned a free kick near the top of the attacking third. Gamecock senior striker Savannah McCaskill’s pass into the box found center back Grace Fisk, who used her head to flick the ball towards the front of the net. Fisk’s pass fell to Luciana Zullo, and the Carolina freshman attacker took one touch with her chest to create a dangerous loose ball. Chang took advantage of the opportunity and stretched her left leg out to poke a shot past Tennessee goalkeeper Shae Yanez.
Sunday featured a defensive battle, as both attacking units were kept in check throughout the match. The Gamecocks held Tennessee to just two shots on goal and finished the contest with a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks. Carolina outshot the Volunteers 17-10 for the game and didn’t allow an attempt in the overtime period.
The Gamecocks saw a great chance to open the scoring in the 50th minute when a defensive miscue left the ball with McCaskill with only the goalkeeper to beat. McCaskill raced towards net before Yanez came off her line to make a tremendous save near the top of the box. Ten minutes later, McCaskill collected a pass from Fisk and ripped a shot from the left side of the box that called for a diving save by Yanez.
South Carolina freshman midfielder Breukelen Woodard had two chances to put the Gamecocks in front in the 67th minute after gathering the ball near the right side of the box. Her first shot was blocked and her rebound attempt sailed over the net and out of bounds.
The Vols also boasted a pair of chance in the early stages of the second half, starting in the 55th minute on a free kick from 32 yards out. Midfielder Katie Cousins took aim at net and hit a well-struck shot that was denied by a leaping save from Gamecock sophomore goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski. In the 58th minute, Tennessee forward Khadija Shaw headed a shot that hit off the crossbar and dropped the ball directly in front of the net. The Vols were unable to capitalize on the rebound, and Carolina quickly handled the loose ball.
McCaskill, Fisk and freshman center back Jackie Schaefer played all 95 minutes against Tennessee for a Gamecock team that put six shots on goal in the victory. Carolina improved to 9-12-2 all-time against the Vols following Sunday’s result.