No. 3 South Carolina Faces Missouri Thursday On The Road
BY: TYRIA GOINES
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 3 South Carolina women’s soccer (13-1-0) continues SEC play this week when it faces Missouri (6-9-1) on the road on Thu., Oct. 19. Kickoff from Walton Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
With a win over the Tigers and losses by Texas A&M and Tennessee Thursday, the Gamecocks will clinch at least a share of the SEC Regular-Season Title.
“This will be another tough match on the road in the SEC. We have to stay sharp to be able to get points away from home. This is a team we haven’t faced since two years ago. We know they are very dangerous in the final third, and we have to try and slow down their attack. We must take advantage of any chances we create in our offense,” said South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith.
Missouri earned its second SEC win of the season last week after downing Kentucky 2-1 on Oct. 12. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Tigers, who sport a mark of 4-3-0 in home contests for the year. Missouri is winless (0-3) against ranked opponents in 2017, and Thursday will mark its third game against a top-10 foe this season.
Sophomore forward Sarah Luebbert leads the Tigers with 15 points on five goals and a team-best five assists, while senior attacker Jessica Johnson ranks first on the team in game-winners (2). Missouri’s 72 goals in 2017 stand as the seventh-best total in the SEC, and its 25 goals are ninth among conference members. Freshman Peyton Bauman and redshirt senior Kristen Rivers have split time in net for the Tigers, whose 1.883 goals against average ranks 14th in the league.
A pair of early goals from strikers Savannah McCaskill and Elexa Bahr paced South Carolina to a 3-0 victory over Vanderbilt last Sunday (Oct. 15) at Stone Stadium.
McCaskill opened the scoring in the sixth minute on a beautiful strike from distance, as the Chapin, S.C., native collected a pass from senior midfielder Lindsey Lane and fired a shot into the top left corner of the net past Vanderbilt goalkeeper Taiana Tolleson. The Gamecocks pushed their lead to 2-0 two minutes later when McCaskill threaded a well-placed through ball to Bahr near the top of the attacking third. Bahr collected the pass and raced into the box before slipping the ball under Tolleson to double Carolina’s advantage.
Carolina put on a clinical defensive performance, and Vanderbilt was limited to three shots for the game. The Commodores put just one attempt on frame against a Gamecock team that fired eight shots on target throughout the match.
South Carolina has won each of its last two matches against Missouri. The Tigers lead the overall series 3-2, and each of the five games between the two have been decided by one goal.
The Gamecocks have won a program-record 19-straight games in SEC regular-season play in a streak that dates back to 2015. South Carolina closed its 2015 conference slate with a 4-0 victory over Tennessee before posting a perfect 11-0-0 mark in league play last fall en route to the 2016 SEC Regular-Season Title. The Gamecocks notched a shutout in 15 of the 19 wins.
South Carolina plays host to Georgia this weekend on Sun., Oct. 22, at Stone Stadium. The match against the Bulldogs marks the final regular-season home game for the Gamecocks, who will honor seven players for Senior Night prior to kickoff. Sunday’s contest, which can be seen on SEC Network+, gets underway at 6 p.m.