The South Carolina women’s soccer team advanced to the SEC Tournament semifinals with a 2-1 win over fourth-seeded Missouri Wednesday night.
It was the Gamecocks’ first-ever win against the Tigers and also served as revenge for a 1-0 loss at the hands of Missouri in its SEC home opener.
Fifth-seeded South Carolina withheld the pressure brought by the Tigers’ frantic style of play for most of the night, only relinquishing a goal with four minutes remaining. Senior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo recorded four saves in the victory.
The Gamecocks struck first in the 24th minute on junior midfielder Stevi Parker’s third goal of the season. After a deflected ball came to Chelsea Drennan, the sophomore midfielder dropped it back to Parker, who drove a low shot just inside the left post. The assist was Drennan’s 10th game-winning setup of her career.
South Carolina got a much needed insurance goal from sophomore forward Sophie Groff in the 57th minute. After a couple quick moves brought her closer to the middle of the field, Groff squeezed a shot just inside the right post past Tiger keeper McKenzie Sauerwein.
The second half of Wednesday’s match saw significantly more offensive action than the first half. At halftime, the Gamecocks had outshot Missouri 6-2. By game’s end, South Carolina’s advantage was 13-12.
Freshman midfielder Savannah McCaskill paced the Gamecock offense with four shots, two of which were on goal. The SEC Freshman of the Year also gained the possession for South Carolina’s second goal before feeding the ball to Groff in open space down the right flank.
Despite Missouri’s early pressure, it did not record a shot until the 28th minute. The Gamecock backline, paced by redshirt senior defender Taylor Leach, allowed Missouri to advance the ball without penetrating deep into the box.
However, Leach’s presence was missed when she went off midway through the second half with an apparent back injury. She did return with 12 minutes remaining to help slow down a Missouri offense that picked up steam during her absence.
Wednesday’s result sets up a rematch Friday of last year’s SEC Tournament semifinal against Texas A&M. The top-seeded Aggies, who defeated Georgia 3-0 in their quarterfinal match, defeated the Gamecocks 2-1 last year en route to the SEC Tournament title.