Gamecocks ready for LSU in SEC Tournament semifinals

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 17 South Carolina (13-4-1, 6-3-1 SEC) takes on LSU (12-6-1, 5-4-1 SEC) on Fri., Nov. 2, at 2:30 p.m. ET in the semifinals of the 2018 SEC Tournament. Every match of the SEC Tournament can be seen on the SEC Network.

The Gamecocks defeated No. 13 Texas A&M (15-4-1, 6-3-1 SEC) 2-1 in the opening round of the 2018 SEC Tournament, avenging its regular-season finale loss to the Aggies just five days earlier.

Luciana Zullo scored the gamewinner at 52:10 to help the Gamecocks advance to the SEC semifinals for the first time since 2016. After falling behind in the opening half for the first time this season, the Gamecocks took just 1:03 to respond. Senior Simone Wark drew a foul in the box to set up sophomore Lauren Chang to nail a penalty kick to knot the score at one.

“I was really proud of the team today,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smithsaid. “They really battled, and they came here to play and avenge a loss at home to Texas A&M. We were able to turn it around and play better in the second half and got a goal early to take the lead and were able to close it out, which was something we had struggled with at the end of the regular season.”

“It was a great team win,” Zullo said after the match. “We fought the whole 90 minutes. We came out in the first half and didn’t play the soccer we wanted to but came out in the second half as a completely different team. This win does mean a lot.”

South Carolina made its SEC Tournament debut on Nov. 5, 1998, against Florida. This season marks the 17th time the Gamecocks have appeared in the SEC Tournament, holding a record of 8-14-5 and a record of 3-8-2 against ranked opponents. South Carolina has won the SEC Tournament once in its history back in 2009 when it defeated LSU on penalty kicks, 8-7.

South Carolina has gone to penalty kicks a total of five times in the SEC Tournament and has advanced in four of those five matches. The last time the Gamecocks went to penalty kicks in the SEC Tournament was on Nov. 5, 2015, against No. 19 Auburn, which they lost 5-3.

If South Carolina should advance past the SEC semifinals, the Gamecocks will play in the SEC Tournament final on Sun., Nov. 4, at 2:00 p.m. ET in Orange Beach, Ala. The other semifinal match is between No. 8 seed Florida and No. 4 seed Arkansas. Following the SEC Tournament, South Carolina will then wait for the NCAA Selection Committee on Mon., Nov. 5, for any potential NCAA Tournament matches. The start time for the Selection Show is still to be determined.


Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks