Gamecocks advance to SEC Tournament semifinals
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 7 South Carolina women’s soccer (14-1-3, 7-0-3 SEC) advanced to its second straight SEC Tournament semifinals with a 1-0 win over Georgia (8-7-4, 4-3-3 SEC) on Tuesday afternoon. Rebecca Koch scored her first career goal in the second half to propel the Gamecocks to the victory.
“We are always glad to pick up a win at the SEC Tournament,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said after the match. “Georgia put us under a lot of pressure, but I was happy with how the team responded in the second half. We changed some things at halftime, and they did a great job at executing. Our defense was strong all day, doing a great job at limiting them all day.”
With the win the Gamecocks have set up another matchup with Vanderbilt, the No. 2 seed. The Commodores defeated Alabama 2-0 in the match prior to the Gamecocks victory. The matchup will be the second of the season, the Gamecocks and Commodores ended in a scoreless draw earlier this season.
Koch’s goal came in the 50th minute after collecting a pass from Luciana Zullo who was fed by Ryan Gareis. Koch, who was named a captain at the start of the season, went upper 90 to the right side of the goal and blasted it past Georgia’s keeper to break the match open for the Gamecocks in the second half. The goal for Koch comes 54 matches into her career, and in just her fourth start of the 2019 season.
“I’m so happy for [Rebecca Koch], as a senior to battle through the injuries she had is just great to see,” Smith said. “To go out there and impact the game the way she did on the defensive end, and as well as a goal, she came up huge for us and I’m sure she’ll always remember that.”
Outside of a shot off the post early in the match, the Carolina defense smothered Georgia all match. The Gamecocks held the Bulldogs to just two shots on goal and registered the 12th shutout of the season. The clean sheet is the 45th in the legendary career of Mikayla Krzeczowski, putting her in a tie for eighth in NCAA women’s soccer history.
“It was another tremendous performance from Mikayla today,” Smith said. “She showed why she was the goalkeeper of the year in our conference. She cleans up things even when it is hectic. She’s just been amazing for us all season.”
Krzeczowski also matched the most matches started in South Carolina history at 83. The senior has never missed a match, or a start, in her four-year career.
South Carolina takes on Vanderbilt (14-4-1, 6-3-1 SEC) on Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. The match can be seen on SEC Network with the winner advancing to the Nov. 10 championship match at 2 p.m. ET.
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