South Carolina women’s soccer won its home opener against Missouri 4-1 on a rainy Sunday afternoon to move to 1-1 (1-1 SEC). The Gamecocks went down early after they gave up a goal on a direct free kick just outside the box but equalized before halftime and scored 3 points after the break to make it four straight and come away with the win.
The Gamecocks’ first goal of the season came on a connection between two freshmen, as forward Ranya Senhaji played a through ball to fellow forward Catherine Barry in front of the box in the 28th minute. Missouri goalkeeper Isabella Alessio came out of the box to challenge and got a touch on the ball, but Barry deflected it and sent it rolling into the goal as multiple Tigers gave chase to no avail.
“As a center-forward, my job is to just pounce on any opportunities I’m given and try to get balls on goal,” Barry said after the game.
Despite having a 12-to-four advantage in shots in the first half, the game was tied at halftime at one goal apiece. After the break, the Gamecocks converted seven shots into three goals to take control of the game.
In the 55th minute, senior midfielder Lauren Chang sent a pass into the box, which was mishandled by the Tiger’s keeper and left the goal wide open for Barry to score her second career goal — and second goal of the day — in her Stone Stadium debut.
Missouri was the more physical team throughout the game, tallying 16 fouls to South Carolina’s six. The most notable foul came in the 68th minute on a South Carolina fast break when chasing Tiger defender Momola Adesanmi committed a foul to prevent a shot. Adesanmi was given a red card.
Junior midfielder Jyllissa Harris converted the ensuing free kick by sending a shot into the upper middle of the net for her first goal of the season and the Gamecocks' third goal of the game.
The fourth South Carolina goal was scored by freshman Rylee Forster, the first of her career, off an assist from junior Riley Tanner. Freshman Taylor Fox started in goal for the second straight game for the Gamecocks and recorded four saves despite allowing one goal.
“The freshmen have been crucial to what we’ve been doing on the field,” head coach Shelley Smith said. “There’s a reason a few of them are starting, and there's players that are coming off the bench and giving us a huge lift.”
The Gamecocks return to action Sunday, Oct. 4 at Stone Stadium to take on the Kentucky Wildcats and continue their all-conference regular-season schedule.