The South Carolina women's soccer team's defense shined in its 2-0 win against Elon Thursday, holding the Phoenix's to only three shots.
The Gamecocks silenced the Phoenix's offensive attempts until about 26 minutes in. Eventually, Elon managed to get a shot off; however it missed the net, sailing by the top right of the goal.
Despite the chance, the Gamecocks defense held firm, making strong tackles and timely interceptions on balls played forward by the Phoenix. The Gamecocks did not allow Elon to post another shot until the 87th minute of the match. Elon shot the ball one more time at the 90th minute, but it was saved by fifth-year goalkeeper Heather Hinz, preserving the clean sheet. This is Hinz's second clean sheet in a row and the 25th of her collegiate career.
"(The defenders) all do their job," Hinz said. "That's a hard position to show up in, as a center back, and especially when we're kind of dominating a little bit, and we need to hold possession back there."
On the offensive side of the ball, the Gamecocks created many chances, tallying 17 shots, seven of which were on goal.
"We had some unlucky crossbars and posts and misses that, you know, you gotta be able to put that in the back of the net and especially when we had the ball as much as we did," head coach Shelley Smith said.
The Gamecocks played with fluidity, with each attacker shifting in and out of position in order to create scoring chances. This fluidity led to many of the Gamecocks shots, but Elon defended well and made it hard for the Gamecocks to score on them.
Seven out of South Carolina's 17 shots came off the foot of senior forward Catherine Barry. Elon defended her well as she was not able to score and missed a chance from just beyond the six yard box in the 47th minute, putting the shot wide and losing her footing in the process.
The Gamecocks' lone goal-scorer was freshman forward and midfielder Reagan Schubach, her fourth of the season. Schubach's goal came from outside the penalty boxed and ricocheted off an Elon defender before finding the back of the net.
"My immediate thought was to drive at the goal and see if I could get a shot off," Schubach said. "If not, I was gonna distribute it to one of my teammates, but luckily I was able to do a move and move the defender out of my way and get a shot off, and it went in off a nice little deflection."
Despite the Gamecocks struggling, the team still looks as potent as they were last season. Their defense is remains strong, despite losing star defender Jyllissa Harris to the NWSL Draft.
The offense could be a focal point this season with the Gamecocks missing close shots under defensive pressure. However, it is still early in the season and their is plenty of time for the offense to show they can withstand the tough defenses they will face.
The No. 13 Gamecocks will continue its home stand with a game against Coastal Carolina at 6 p.m. The game will be available to stream on SEC Network+.