The South Carolina women's soccer team won 1-0 in an SEC showdown on Thursday night over the previously undefeated Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Following a win against the University of Florida last Thursday, the Gamecocks kept the momentum strong and pulled off the on-the-road victory with another impressive defensive performance.
"I thought they were excellent in limiting opportunities,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “They really did their jobs and started the attack for us.”
South Carolina started the game off with a statement, scoring the first, and only, goal of the game within the first seven minutes of the match. It was the second goal of the season for fifth-year midfielder Claire Griffiths, who was assisted by sophomore forward Payton Patrick.
“I thought it was a tremendous goal," Smith said. "That's what Claire is capable of hitting, and it was really nice to see her step up and take that and do it in a perfect way. We came out better than we have in the past few games and was rewarded with a goal because of it.”
Aside from a combined 15 fouls — a product of aggression from both teams — the remainder of the first half was a defensive shootout, only producing five shots across the board from the two sides after Griffiths' score.
Both the Gamecock and Bulldog defenses played aggressively throughout, only allowing a combined three shots on goal over the entirety of the match.
The same momentum carried on to the second half, which was marked by only four shot attempts in 45 minutes, all of which were created by the Bulldogs. Heather Hinz, South Carolina's senior goalkeeper, did her part by saving the one shot on target by Mississippi State in the 68th minute.
“At the end, they were really pressing, we did a good job to thwart their attack," Smith said about the final minutes of the game. "We did well to keep the ball.”
The South Carolina victory brings the Gamecocks' record to 8-2-3 (3-2 SEC) on the season. The Gamecocks will host the Kentucky Wildcats at home in Stone Stadium on Oct. 9 at 2 p.m.