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McCaskill Lifts No. 5 Gamecocks Past Aggies

Published: September 30, 2016

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Forward Savannah McCaskill’s late-game magic pushed No. 5 South Carolina women’s soccer to a thrilling 1-0 victory over Texas A&M Thursday night at Ellis Field. The junior standout tallied the game-winner in the 87th minute for the Gamecocks, who matched the program record with their 11th-straight victory and moved to 11-0-1 (5-0-0 SEC) on the season. The Aggies fell to 7-5-0 and 2-3-0 in league play with the loss.

Junior midfielder Lindsey Lane set up the scoring play, delivering a long pass to a charging McCaskill. McCaskill used her speed to gather the ball and slip it into the net past Aggie goalkeeper Danielle Rice, who came off her line. The goal gave McCaskill 11 for the year, the most the junior has tallied in a season.

South Carolina’s strong defensive play continued on Thursday, as the Gamecocks limited the Aggies to just three shots. Texas A&M didn’t attempt a shot until the 67th minute, and Carolina ended the match with a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.

The Gamecocks tallied all of the match’s six shots and totaled five corner kicks in the first half. McCaskill nearly opened the scoring in the third minute after stealing a pass and ripping a shot that was quickly blocked by an Aggie defender. South Carolina couldn’t convert on the ensuing corner, and the danger was cleared away.

In the 16th minute, senior center back Kaleigh Kurtz’s long ball hit attacker Daija Griffin in stride down the right sideline. Griffin charged near the edge of the box before sending in a cross that was gathered by Rice, who came off her line to collect the pass. Twenty minutes later, the Gamecocks again sent a dangerous pass into the box. Freshman forward Elexa Bahr’s delivery headed towards junior left back Anna Conklin, but the Texas A&M back line was there again to cut off the pass.

South Carolina boasted the first two scoring chances of the second half, putting a pair of attempts on frame. Griffin raced down the field on the counter attack before trying a shot from outside the box that was saved. Minutes later, Lane tried her luck from the same spot, firing an attempt that again fell into the hands of Rice.

The Gamecocks, who have won each of their last two games against Texas A&M, outshot the Aggies 10-3 for the match. South Carolina freshman goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski totaled two saves, as she moved to 8-0-1 on the year with the victory and notched her fifth shutout on the season.

QUOTABLE
“That was a battle, and it was what we expected. This team is a special group, and it has a lot to do with the success we’ve had this season. They’re sticking together through the ups-and-downs, and they have a lot of good chemistry.” – South Carolina women’s soccer coach Shelley Smith.

GAMECHANGER
South Carolina broke through in the 87th minute when junior forward Savannah McCaskill tallied her sixth game-winner of the season. Her six game-winning goals match the most for a Gamecock in a season in school history.

KEY STAT
In addition to providing the lone goal of the game, McCaskill doubled Texas A&M's offensive output on her own. She finished the match with six shots, while as a team the Aggies managed just three.

NOTABLES
>> South Carolina went unbeaten in the month of September in each of the last two seasons, boasting a 15-0-0 mark over that stretch. The Gamecocks outscored their opponents 40-5 in those 15 matches.
>> Junior forward Savannah McCaskill’s goal was the latest game-winner for the Gamecocks this season.
>> Texas A&M’s shot in the 67th minute was the first attempt conceded by South Carolina in 118 minutes dating back to Sunday’s game against Kentucky.

UP NEXT
The Gamecocks have a week off before they return to league action on the road. Carolina faces Mississippi State on Thursday, Oct. 6 in Starkville, Miss., with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. ET.

 
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