Photo: Claire Albrecht / The Daily Gamecock

Women's soccer wins 11th straight match

A dominant performance against Vanderbilt on Sunday earned the No. 3 South Carolina women's soccer team its 11th straight win this season.

With two goals coming in the first 10 minutes of regulation, the Gamecocks defeated the Commodores, 3-0, at Stone Stadium on Sunday.

The Gamecocks came out firing at nets early and often. Senior forward Savannah McCaskill put a shot on goal that was saved by the Vanderbilt goalkeeper Taiana Tolleson just 48 seconds into the match. 

McCaskill made up for the missed chance by slotting home her sixth goal of the season with a beautifully placed shot that beat Tolleson from 25 yards out with the assist coming from senior midfielder Lindsey Lane in the fifth minute. 

Two minutes later, sophomore forward Elexa Bahr nets home a goal on a one-on-one opportunity following a perfectly timed through ball from McCaskill. This also marked Bahr’s sixth goal of the season. 

South Carolina controlled possession for much of the first half and applied pressure on the Vanderbilt defense. In the first half, the Gamecocks had seven shots on goal, compared to the Commodores' one shot on goal. 

Vanderbilt came out aggressive in the second half, but the Gamecocks' back line anchored down and easily contained the Commodore attack. South Carolina then dominated possession during the second half and applied more pressure to wear down the Commodore defense. Keeper Mikayla Krzeczowski earned another clean sheet on the season, and has only conceded two goals in SEC play.

“I think we've been organized,” head coach Shelley Smith said of the Gamecocks' defense. “It’s a team effort, a team defensive effort, and then we play out of that, and everyone does their job.”

The Gamecocks found the back of the net again in the 80th minute via freshman forward Luciana Zullo, who scored with a chip from 20 yards out to beat Tolleson. It was Zullo's fourth goal of the season. The Gamecocks finished with 14 shots on goal compared to Vanderbilt’s three shots on goal.

“This team has just stayed together,” Smith said. “They’ve prepared each week, really focused in their training, and when they come out their doing their jobs. That’s what we hope for and ask for and they've donea great job to commit to what we are wanting them to do. [A] big credit to the whole team.” 

No. 3 South Carolina shut out Vanderbilt for its 11th straight win, and improved to 13-1 on the season and 7-0 in SEC play. The Gamecocks are unbeaten against Vanderbilt in eight of their last nine matches. The Gamecocks also remain unbeaten at home this season. 

The Gamecocks hit the road for their next match against the Missouri Tigers at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.



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