Junior Savannah McCaskill didn’t waste any time putting the No. 15 Gamecocks on top in their 3-0 win against Georgia.
Having just been awarded NCAA Soccer Women’s Player of the Week, after scoring three goals and one assist against Clemson and Charlotte, McCaskill slotted a goal past Georgia goalkeeper Louise Hogrell in the eighth minute. Senior Daija Griffin assisted McCaskill on the goal.
McCaskill didn’t want her night to end there, though. Off a pass from junior Dominique Babbitt, McCaskill dribbled past the keeper in the open field and tallied her second goal of the game — eighth of the season — just after halftime.
She was also in a giving mood Friday night. Instead of finishing another goal herself, McCaskill assisted on one. Senior Sophie Groff received a cross to the far post and beat out Georgia’s defense for the third goal of the night and her first of the season. Groff finished the night with three shots, two of them on goal in 57 minutes of play.
The Gamecocks outshot the Bulldogs 15 to three. South Carolina goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski made two saves on the night.
A few takeaways:
McCaskill is a one-woman wrecking ball
The junior kept up the wave of momentum she’s been riding all season. With eight goals in seven games, every opponent that steps opposite of her should be afraid of what she brings to the pitch. Not only can she out-muscle almost anyone, she’s a gifted finisher and dominates the opponent’s box. Look for her to start getting more and more attention from defenses, which will allow her teammates to find some green grass in front of the goal if she starts drawing double and triple teams.
South Carolina is playing fantastic soccer headed into the conference slate
While the win against Georgia marks the beginning of SEC play for South Carolina, their 5-0-1 out-of-conference record pays tremendous dividends to how coach Shelley Smith has her team playing. With wins against No. 6 Clemson and ACC player North Carolina State, the Gamecocks have shown that they aren’t to be messed with in arguably the most talented conference. With Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas all ranked, and Auburn pushing themselves toward the Top-25, it’s comforting to see South Carolina play so well and cohesively.
Their next game is at Stone Stadium against UNC Greensboro on Thursday.