USC Women Top #4 Texas A&M 2-1
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — Senior forward Raina Johnson‘s game-winner in the 89th minute propelled the No. 17 South Carolina women‘s soccer team to a thrilling 2-1 win over No. 4 Texas A&M in its SEC home opener on Thursday night at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks, winners of seven straight, moved to 9-1-0 overall and 3-0-0 in SEC play with the victory, while the Aggies (9-2-0, 2-1-0 SEC) suffered their first conference loss with the setback. Johnson‘s goal came following a volley into the box from South Carolina midfielder Stevi Parker. Parker‘s pass bounced over Texas A&M goalkeeper Taylor Saucier and headed towards the end line, where forward Sophie Groff alertly flicked the ball back into play near the left side of the box. Groff‘s cross found Johnson, who headed the ball into the back of the net. The Aggies opened the scoring in the 10th minute following forward Ally Watt‘s first career goal. Watt took aim at goal from the top right corner of the box, and her shot slipped under the hands of South Carolina goalkeeper Abby Crider and into the bottom left corner of the net. South Carolina produced the majority of the scoring chances in the second half and broke through in the 74th minute on a goal by forward Daija Griffin. After receiving a pass at the top of the box from forward Simone Wark, Griffin took one dribble to the right and fired a shot into the left side of the net past Saucier. The Gamecocks finished the match with a 15-8 shot advantage and outshot the Aggies 10-4 in the final 45 minutes. Crider moved to a perfect 4-0 on the season with the victory after tallying three saves in the contest. Game Changer Johnson‘s header in the 89th minute proved to be the difference in Thursday‘s victory. The goal marked the 10th career game-winner for the South Carolina forward. Key Stat South Carolina finished the match with 10 shots on goal. The Aggies managed to put just four shots on frame throughout the game. Notables “¢ Thursday‘s win marked South Carolina‘s first-ever win over Texas A&M. The Gamecocks entered the match with an all-time record of 0-5-1 against the Aggies. “¢ The Gamecocks improved to 10-21-2 all-time against opponents ranked in the top 10 following the victory over the Aggies. South Carolina sports a 1-1 mark against ranked opponents this season. “¢ With the victory, South Carolina remained perfect at home this season with wins in each of its six contests at Stone Stadium in 2015. “¢ South Carolina‘s 3-0 record in SEC play marks its best start to conference play since the 2010 season. Quotable South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith It was good to come back after trailing at half. We put a lot of pressure on them (Texas A&M) throughout the match, and we were able to finally find the back of the net. We were all over them on the offensive end and we deserved to win tonight against a very good Texas A&M team. I was so happy for Raina Johnson to get that late goal, and it was so great to see her score the game-winner. We played our hearts out, and everyone did their job tonight. Up Next South Carolina returns to action on Sunday when it hosts Alabama at Stone Stadium. Kick-off is set for 6 p.m. ET, and the match can be seen on SEC Network+.