Gamecocks advance in NCAA Tournament with 1-0 victory
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC) – No. 18 South Carolina (11-4-0, 6-2-0 SEC) defeated Montana (9-2-0, 7-1-0 Big Sky) 1-0 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday night. Freshman forward Corinna Zullo scored the gamewinner while fellow freshman Taylor Fox earned the shutout to help Carolina advance to the second round for the fifth-straight year.
“We’re obviously very excited to be moving on, it was a hard-fought battle and we’re glad to be on the winning end of things,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “You get here, and everyone is so excited and Montana gave us everything they had. A huge credit to them for making it hard on us. We found a way and battled through it. We’re very proud of the team and the effort tonight and we’re glad to be moving on.”
Zullo’s goal is her fifth of the season and her third game-winning goal of her rookie campaign. The Flemington, N.J. native, was assisted by senior Ryan Gareis in the 56th minute. The goal was setup by Gareis flanking down the left side of the field before sending the ball into the box where Zullo headed it home.
“It was so great to score, but at the end of the day it really was a team effort,” Zullo said. “I was just the one to put it in the back of the net today, but it’s a credit to everyone who did the work to put us in that position.”
It was a scoreless halftime score after 45 minutes of action with Carolina controlling much of the action with a shot advantage of 10-1. The quality of the shots only continued to get better as the match went on, with the Gamecocks finishing with 16 shots and 10 of them on target.
With the help of her strong defense in front of her, Fox was forced to make just two saves during the match while facing a total of four shots. The shutout for the Gamecocks is the sixth of the season and the second for Fox this season.
“It was amazing [to get the shutout],” Fox said after the match. “I couldn’t of done it without the defenders in front of me.”
The 2020-21 Division I women’s soccer tournament continues on May 1 for the Gamecocks. Carolina will take on No. 13 seed Georgetown at 6 p.m. at the J. Burt Gillette Athletic Complex in Wilson, N.C. Tickets will be available similarly to the first round, a maximum of 300 with 150 available to the general public.