The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: South Carolina women's soccer fall to No. 2 Duke, end NCAA Tournament run in Sweet 16

<p>Catherine Barry breaks away and sprints down the field scoring the only goal of the game. South Carolina beat Florida 1-0 on September 28th, 2022.</p>
Catherine Barry breaks away and sprints down the field scoring the only goal of the game. South Carolina beat Florida 1-0 on September 28th, 2022.

The Gamecocks ended their run in the NCAA playoffs with a 2-1 loss to No. 2 Duke in the Sweet 16 Sunday. 

The Blue Devils started the first half aggressively taking shots on the goal early. Their first shot came in the second minute after capitalizing off of a mistake from the South Carolina backfield. To the Gamecocks' luck, senior goalie Heather Hinz was there to make a save to prevent Duke from getting on the board. 

10 minutes later, the Blue Devils took another opportunity on a scramble in front of the net allowing sophomore Michelle Cooper to knock in the first goal for Duke from the far right side. 

The half continued to be dominated by the Blue Devils. They recorded 10 shots, two corner kicks and two assists in the first half. 

However, at the end of the first-half, Duke only had one goal to show for their efforts thanks to the work of Hinz. The Blue Devils kept the Gamecocks' goalie busy forcing her to make four saves in the half.

South Carolina only tallied one shot in the first half. Junior forward Catherine Barry attempted to take advantage of the Gamecocks' only corner kick of the game, but she was met by a Duke defender who pushed the ball out of bounds.

South Carolina's inability to minimize the Blue Devils' opportunities to make shots paired with the lack of its own set the dominant tone for Duke in the first half. 

Both teams put up a solid effort in the second half, with South Carolina looking to improve its attack and defensive strategy. Redshirt senior Samantha Chang had two opportunities early in the half after a yellow card on Duke in the 60th minute but was unable to connect. 

In the 83rd minute, Cooper made the Blue Devils' lead more comfortable with her second goal of the game. However, the Gamecocks were able to answer right back five minutes later, putting South Carolina on the board with a goal from sophomore Payton Patrick and an assist from senior Riane Coman. 

The Gamecocks were given a huge opportunity to tie the game in the final 10 seconds after a head-to-head collision stopped the clock, allowing South Carolina to send all its players upfield. Despite the opportunity, the Gamecocks were unable to convert the game-tying point as time expired.  

Although the Gamecocks had eight shots compared to Duke's nine in the second half, it was not enough to mask the dominance of the Blue Devils in the first half. Duke ended the game with 19 shots, 10 shots on goal and six corner kicks — allowing them to secure a win and a spot in the Elite Eight. 

With the loss, the South Carolina women's soccer team end its historic season and an impressive run in its 10th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. The year was also marked by its 18th winning season under head coach Shelley Smith, with the year being the 10th consecutive one with 12+ wins. In addition, the Gamecocks received its third SEC tournament title with the 1-0 victory over Alabama in November.