Claire Albrecht

Women's soccer tops Lady Hornets, advances to second round of NCAA Tournament

The Gamecocks were experiencing a sense of déjà vu following their first-round matchup against Alabama State. 

USC opened the first-round of the 2016 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament against the same team, and it ended in a similar outcome. 

Last season, USC defeated Alabama State, 7-0, at Stone Stadium. This year was much of the same with the final score being 3-0 and the Gamecocks dominating all aspects of the match Friday night.

In the first half, the Gamecocks came out of the gates strong. Ryan Gareis scored the first goal on the Gamecocks' first corner kick of the match. The Gamecocks continued to play well the rest of the half. USC added on another goal from Bianca Galassini, who was assisted by Elexa Bahr. The Gamecocks ended the half leading in all major categories. USC outshot Alabama State 18 to two, while Alabama State committed six fouls to South Carolina's two. 

The second half also went well for the Gamecocks, who continued their strong play by adding a third goal in the 49th minute off the foot of Bahr. The Gamecock defense tightened up as well. After allowing only two shots in the first half, the Gamecocks didn’t allow a single shot by Alabama State in the second half. Keeper Mikayla Krzeczowskidid not need to make a single save in the entire match. 

Despite losing in their last game to Arkansas in the SEC Tournament, the Gamecocks were itching to get back on to the field. 

“Being anxious is an understatement. We all wanted to be back on the field," Bahr said. 

Head coach Shelley Smith echoed Bahr, saying, “We had time to rest, which was good, but ... training is fine until you really want to play somebody else ... tonight was great to come out and play a game and do the things we’ve been working on.”

Smith added, “We played well tonight; we did what we needed to do to advance.” 

The Gamecocks were able to spread the ball around, and several players had a chance to impact the game. Twelve Gamecocks attempted at least one shot in the game while four players attempted at least three. 

When asked about the offensive attack, Smith replied, “We should’ve had probably more balls go in the net, that might be a little frustrating at times, but luckily a few went in, enough to win.” 

“We created the chances, that’s what’s important," she said. 

The Gamecocks will host Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Stone Stadium on Friday. 

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