The South Carolina women’s soccer team traveled Sunday to Athens, Georgia, where they lost 1-0 to start their season. This is the Gamecocks’ first loss to the Bulldogs since 2014. The loss also breaks a six-year opening day win streak.
The Gamecocks couldn’t produce on 8 total shots on goal, including two free kicks by senior midfielder Lauren Chang in the second half. Chang, freshman forward Catherine Barry, senior forward Ryan Gareis and senior defender Sarah Eskew each made shots on target that were saved by Georgia junior goalkeeper Emory Wegener.
“We had chances that I thought we should’ve done [a] better job with, you know, put those away, and sometimes you’re gonna be on the losing end of things,” head coach Shelley Smith told GamecocksOnline. “We use these kind of opportunities to learn and get better, and we did have a lot of young players out there . . . we just need to be better as a whole next time we come out.”
After a scoreless first half, junior midfielder Abby Boyan scored Georgia’s only goal in the 63rd minute with assists from senior forward Mollie Belisle and sophomore defender Mallie McKenzie.
“There were a couple of things that we didn’t do well enough, and we were exposed for that, so credit to Georgia to take advantage and get the goal they needed,” Smith told GamecocksOnline.
Smith said she felt South Carolina’s defense played well overall, which made it “disappointing to lose a game on a moment where we just didn’t do our job really in the box.”
Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Fox posted four saves in her first career start for the Gamecocks.
“I thought Taylor, going in as a freshman, did very well and cleaned up balls that came in and really had a solid game,” Smith said, adding that she felt the defense left Fox “pretty exposed” when Georgia scored.
The Gamecocks will return to Columbia for their first home game against Missouri on Sept. 27. Kickoff at Stone Stadium will be at 4 p.m.