The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Gamecock women's soccer falls to Auburn in SEC Tournament quarterfinals

<p>Graduate forward Ryan Gareis runs towards the goal during the South Carolina versus Alabama soccer game on Oct. 24, 2021. The Gamecocks lost 2-1 to the Auburn Tigers in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.&nbsp;</p>

Graduate forward Ryan Gareis runs towards the goal during the South Carolina versus Alabama soccer game on Oct. 24, 2021. The Gamecocks lost 2-1 to the Auburn Tigers in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. 

The No. 4 seed South Carolina women’s soccer team could not overcome a halftime deficit and fell 2-1 to the No. 5 seeded Auburn Tigers in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. 

The Gamecocks took an early exit from Orange Beach, Alabama and now await the announcement of the NCAA Tournament field during the selection show on Nov. 8 on NCAA.com.

Despite holding a 10 to two-shot advantage in the first half, South Carolina conceded a goal on the verge of halftime as the Tigers scored from close range in the 41st minute to take a 1-0 lead into the break.

"We put ourselves in a great position, but we just didn't quite capitalize on the chances we had," long-time Gamecocks head coach Shelley Smith told GamecocksOnline.

Auburn continued to take their chances in a very physical match that saw the teams record over 20 fouls combined and found a goal to double their advantage in the 64th minute.

Shortly after the goal, sophomore forward Catherine Barry was fouled in the Auburn box. The foul lead the referee to award a penalty Barry scored in the 71st minute for her first career penalty goal and her seventh of the season.

South Carolina continued to press for an equalizer in the closing stage of the single-elimination game, but came up short despite recording seven more shots — and twice as many on goal — than the Tigers.

A trio of Gamecock seniors, including senior midfielder Jyllissa Harris, senior defender Sutton Jones and redshirt senior midfielder Claire Griffiths, have now played the last SEC Tournament game of their careers. 

South Carolina also retained a host of graduate students who were able to enjoy an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic whose careers will be coming to a close soon. Defender Sarah Eskew, defender Remi Swartz, midfielder Lauren Chang, forward Ryan Gareis and forward Luciana Zullo will now look to the NCAA Tournament to extend their run.

The Gamecocks 11-6-1 (6-3-1 SEC) finished fourth in the SEC regular-season but no longer control their destiny and will have to watch the remainder of the conference tournament from home as they anticipate the upcoming NCAA Tournament selection show.


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