Early Goals Propel 12th Ranked Gamecocks to 4-1 Victory
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two goals in the first seven minutes gave the 12th ranked South Carolina women’s soccer team an early advantage they wouldn’t relinquish, as the Gamecocks moved to 5-0 on the season with a 4-1 victory over Charlotte inside Stone Stadium Monday night (Sept. 6).
“I thought we came out really well in the beginning, scoring early goals,” head coach Shelley Smith said. “That’s what you want to do. We talked about to the team how 2-0 can be a dangerous lead. I thought we stopped working a little bit and Charlotte did a great job all night to put a lot of pressure on us. We did a good job of coming out the second half and step up our play and compete better.”
The Gamecock offense didn’t take long to get on the smiling side of the scoreboard as Luciana Zullo netter her first goal of the season 46 seconds into the match. From the left side just outside the box, Ryan Gareis found Zullo cutting in front of the goal where she had an uncontested shot to the near side. The goal tied the mark for second quickest goal in program history, matching Gareis’ goal from March 21 of the spring season against Coastal Carolina. Only Mary Worthen’s goal 14 seconds into the game on October 14, 2005, against Ole Miss has been faster.
The Gamecocks weren’t done scoring as Eveleen Hahn netter her third goal in four matches when she beat two defenders and scored on the far post in the 7th minute. The 49ers pulled within one before halftime when they found the back of the net in the 23rd minute.
As coach Smith said, the Gamecocks came out with defensive pressure in the second half, not allowing a Charlotte shot on goal until the 63rd minute.
“Jy (Jyllissa Harris) just played a perfect ball,” Zullo said of the goal. “It was curving in and all I had to do was just put my foot out there, it bounced off and went in.”
The Gamecocks capped off the night in the 89th minute with a pair of freshmen connected for their first collegiate points. Megan Spiehs dribbled down the right side and found Lily Render just inside the 18-yard box. Render was able to clear the ball over the 49er keeper’s outreached arm for the first goal of her Gamecock career.
In goal, Heather Hinz finished with three saves. On the night, South Carolina out-shot Charlotte 14-10 and held the shot on goal advantage 7-4.
The Gamecocks now prepare for their rivalry game, as South Carolina travels to 15th ranked Clemson Thursday, September 9, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. The match will be national televised on the ACC Network.