The South Carolina women's soccer team had a scoreless opening half against Kentucky. In the opening minutes of the second half, freshman forward Catherine Barry scored the lone goal off a set piece. This 1-0 win means the Gamecocks (2-1, 2-1 SEC) have not lost to the Wildcats (0-3, 0-3 SEC) since 2014.
“We’re thrilled to win another one at home,” Gamecock head coach Shelley Smith said. “We talk about all the time in this league, it’s difficult on the road, and when we’re at home, we really try to make sure we get the 3 points.”
In the 52nd minute, the Gamecocks broke through and scored the opening goal of the match for the first time this season. South Carolina constantly put the Wildcats under heavy pressure, drawing fouls and winning corners.
Redshirt junior midfielder Claire Griffiths fired a cross into the middle from the far corner and found senior defender Anna Patten by the penalty spot. Patten’s kick was blocked, but Barry rebounded and scored. Barry now has three goals in as many games this season.
“I kind of was just screening the goalie coming across. I knew one of my other teammates was going to hopefully get on the end of it," Barry said. "If they knocked it down, it was going to be my job to knock it in.”
Minutes later, the Wildcats were awarded a penalty kick. The attempt from Wildcat freshman defender Marie Olsen sailed high of Gamecock sophomore goalkeeper Heather Hinz, who was making her first career start.
“I tried to get in her head a little bit 'cause that’s what goalkeepers try and do," Hinz said.
Smith made three changes to the starting lineup. She said most of the changes were because they still have a competition for spots and want to give players a chance. Smith said freshman defender Hallie Meadows is injured but "should be back soon.”
Early in the game, South Carolina looked to play over the top but couldn't connect on passes.
“Today, I thought we honestly weren’t our best in the first half,” Smith said. “It was a bit frustrating.”
South Carolina will travel to Nashville to face No. 13 Vanderbilt (1-2, 1-2 SEC) on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. EST before heading to face No. 9 Arkansas (3-0, 3-0 SEC) Oct. 16 at 8 p.m.
“We got to come out better than we did today,” Smith said. “Right from the start, we got to be sharper.”
Correction (Oct. 4, 2020): A previous version of this article stated the Gamecocks were at the top of the SEC East and that Catherine Barry has scored three goals in two games this season. Georgia is at the top of the SEC East, and Barry has played in all three games so far this season.