Gamecocks blank Notre Dame 1-0 in NCAA second round

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 5 South Carolina women’s soccer advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in school history with a 1-0 win over Notre Dame on Friday night. Sophomore Riley Tanner’s goal was the difference in the win for the Gamecocks, who beat Notre Dame for the second time this season.

“We are excited to be moving on in the NCAAs,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “That was another tremendous game between us and Notre Dame. Huge credit to them; both times we’ve played them they’ve always been so talented. I wish them the best of luck, Nate [Norman] has done a great job with that program and I know that they have a bright future, some really talented players. It’s always sad to see their season end, but glad to see that we are moving on. This group has been tremendous, they wanted it tonight, and our job now is to just get ready to recover and get ready for Sunday.”

Tanner’s goal came on a great give-and-go sequence with senior Elexa Bahr. Tanner was patient with her touch and slotted her left-footed shot on the nearside post to beat Notre Dame’s keeper.

The goal for Tanner is the second of her 2019 NCAA Tournament and puts her at a team-leading five points in Carolina’s two tournament matches. The five points has already jumped her into a tie for the fifth-most points by a Gamecock in the NCAA Tournament.

“It was a very good build up, and I was obviously looking to go for goal,” Tanner said after the match. “[Elexa Bahr] played a great ball through, and I just did my job as a forward and finished the goal.”

In front of another ruckus crowd of 1,308, the Gamecocks defense lived up to the billing. Allowing just five shots and only two on target for senior goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski to keep out of the net. The senior goalkeeper came up big in the 81st minute with a save off a Notre Dame corner kick that was headed toward goal. Krzeczowski kept her composure and came up with the ball, keeping the Irish off the board.

“Their two center backs are really, really good, and their holding mid,” Notre Dame head coach Nate Norman said of the Carolina defense. “Individually, they cover a lot of area. They don’t ever leave themselves exposed. They’ve found ways to generate chances without committing a lot of numbers forward. Once you go down against them, it’s hard. They really clamp down and make it tough for you.”

The 15th clean sheet for Krzeczowski ties her with Carolina legend Mollie Patton for the most in a single season. The shutout is also the 49th of her illustrious career in Columbia, putting her all alone with the third most in NCAA women’s soccer history.

With the win Carolina moves to 16-11-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and is the lone SEC squad remaining in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

The 2019 Division I women’s soccer tournament continues on Sun., Nov. 24 with the Gamecocks taking on the third-seeded Kansas Jayhawks at 2 p.m. at Stone Stadium with the match being broadcast on SEC Network +. The winner will host the following weekend in the Elite Eight with No. 1 seed Virginia falling to Washington State 3-2.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks