The Daily Gamecock

Women's soccer topples No. 5 Florida

McCaskill scores late to power Gamecocks past Gators

Thursday night in Stone Stadium, the South Carolina women’s soccer team brought the No. 5 Florida Gators’ seven-game winning streak to a screeching halt.

With less than two minutes left, freshman Savannah McCaskill headed in a beautiful corner kick from sophomore Chelsea Drennan to put the Gamecocks up 3-2 for the win.

The victory marks the first time since 2007 that the Gamecocks have beat a top-five team.

After a tough three weeks where the Gamecocks were 1-3-1 in conference play, head coach Shelley Smith was able to rally her team to win the toughest game of the season thus far at home.

The match took quite a few unexpected turns, with the Gamecocks going up 1-0 less than two minutes into the game on a hustle play by Chelsea Drennan. The sophomore scored unassisted on a takeaway in Gator territory to get the momentum moving in South Carolina’s direction.

The Gamecocks capitalized on the momentum swing and completely controlled the first half, with McCaskill scoring her first goal of the game on an assist from Sophie Groff. The two goals in the first half were the first time this season that the Gators had been scored on twice in the opening half of a game.

It was a very impressive first half for the Gamecocks, who maintained consistent possession and played solid defense to take over.

Junior Caroline Gray had a productive first half, completely shutting down one of the best playmakers in the nation, Tessa Andujar.

Going into the second half down by two goals against a near impenetrable Gamecock defense, it seemed as though Florida's back was against the wall. However, senior Havana Solaun refused to quit and put in two very aesthetically pleasing goals against South Carolina's star goalkeeper, Sabrina D’Angelo, the second of which came with less than six minutes left in regulation time.

The Gamecocks were consistently threatening with their counterattack in the second half, led by McCaskill and  junior Raina Johnson, but just could not find the back of the net until McCaskill’s game winner. That game winner came on only the second corner kick of the game. The first corner kick was 66 minutes into the game for Florida.

There were many positives to point out in the game against Florida. For example, redshirt senior Taylor Leach contained lethal goal scorer Savannah Jordan very well. Jordan was held to only two shots. On top of her offensive contributions, Drennan also played impressive defense from midfield, allowing very little to get by her.

The Gamecocks are now 3-3-1 in the SEC, and suddenly their season has been revived after trending downwards in the last three weeks.

South Carolina will turn around Sunday and look to build off the win when it takes on Ole Miss at home.