In a tightly contested match, No. 3 South Carolina notched a 1-0 win over No. 21 Tennessee with a golden goal in the first overtime period by Lauren Chang at Stone Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The goal came in the 94th minute in the first overtime period after sophomore forward Elexa Bahr’s shot on goal was deflected, and the freshman midfielder Chang capitalized on the loose ball to score the only goal of the match for the game-winner.
“It really came down to the effort of the team,” Chang said. “[Savannah McCaskill] had a great ball in, Grace [Fisk] kept it alive with the header flick, and then [Elexa Bahr] just happened to get a touch on it and I just told myself to do anything I could to get on the end of it and get it in the goal.”
South Carolina and Tennessee both created chances in the second half to get a goal, but the excellent play from both goalkeepers and back lines prevented a goal in regulation. McCaskill had a one-on-one opportunity for a goal with Tennessee’s keeper Shae Yanez, who made a great save on the shot.
Later in the second half, Tennessee had two fantastic opportunities for goal, but both hit the post and stayed outside the net. Yanez finished the game with five saves, while Mikayla Krzeczowski had two saves. This was Krzeczowski’s sixth clean sheet and her third straight in SEC play.
“It took a lot of heart [and] a team commitment,” head coach Shelly Smith said. “We talked about someone had to make a difference out there, and they stepped up in overtime and did that."
With the win, the Gamecocks improved to 9-1 overall on the season, and 3-0 in the SEC. This win marks their seventh-straight win, and their sixth-straight decided by only one goal. South Carolina is now 3-0 against ranked opponents this season.
The Gamecocks handed No. 21 Tennessee its first loss on the season, and with the win, South Carolina has won nine of its last 10 matches against Tennessee.
No. 3 South Carolina returns to action against No. 20 Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi, at 8 p.m. Friday.