The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Gamecock women’s soccer defeats Alabama at home 4-0

<p>The Gamecocks’ Women Soccer Team enjoys a moment before their game against Vanderbilt on Sept. 23, 2021. The Gamecocks won the game.</p>

The Gamecocks’ Women Soccer Team enjoys a moment before their game against Vanderbilt on Sept. 23, 2021. The Gamecocks won the game.

The South Carolina women’s soccer team rebounded from a mid-week defeat on Sunday afternoon, scoring four goals and keeping a clean sheet against Alabama at Stone Stadium. The victory marked the Gamecocks’ first win since Oct. 1, when they beat previously No. 13 Auburn 3-2.

South Carolina’s offense was as impressive as it has been all season, with its goal tally from this match tying a season-high.

Graduate student forward Ryan Gareis and sophomore forward Catherine Barry each had a goal and an assist to their names, and their dynamic runs allowed the Gamecocks to create many scoring opportunities. 

The South Carolina defense also played an important role in the victory, maintaining a constant presence throughout the match.

After conceding four goals to LSU last Thursday, the Gamecocks allowed only one shot on goal against Alabama, a performance that earned high praise from head coach Shelley Smith.

“Our defense has to be solid to give us a chance to produce an offensive attack,” Smith said. “That’s how you’re going to win games.”

The Gamecocks were relentless from the very beginning, taking only one minute and two seconds to get on the scoresheet, with Barry scoring on a short-range effort after Gareis cross deflected off the post.

South Carolina doubled its lead in the 25th minute when graduate student midfielder Lauren Chang delivered a long free kick into the path of redshirt junior midfielder Samantha Chang, who placed the ball into the back of the net. 

The Gamecocks’ earned their third goal six minutes later in the form of a shot off the foot of Gareis that found the goal’s bottom right corner, which was assisted by Barry.

Despite the large deficit, Alabama continued to press for a goal and had their best chance of the match in the 74th minute. Alabama freshman forward Aislin Streicek shot the ball on frame, but Gamecock junior goalkeeper Heather Hinz was able to make a comfortable save. 

The Gamecocks put the game even farther out of reach in the 78th minute after freshman forward Payton Patrick finished at the back post, with freshman defender Taylor Jacobson earning the assist on the play.

“They came out and executed," Smith said. “It makes a huge difference when you can jump on a team early.”

Following the victory, South Carolina improved its record to 10-5-1 (5-3-1 in conference play). The Gamecocks conclude their regular season on the road in Gainesville, where they will play Florida on Thursday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m.


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