COLUMBIA, S.C. – After battling No. 10 South Carolina to a scoreless first-half tie, Arkansas’ soccer team allowed two second-half goals and fell 2-0 on Thursday.
The loss drops Arkansas to 8-5-4 overall and 2-5-2 in the Southeastern Conference. USC improved to 15-1-1 overall and an SEC-best 7-1-1.
Following a scoreless first half, South Carolina took control with two goals just over eight minutes apart in the first half of the second period.
At the 54:04 mark, Kortney Rhoades got behind the defense and inside the center of the 18 in a one-on-goalie situation after passes from Kayla Grimsley and Kim Miller. She drew keeper Britni Williams straight out and Grimsley placed her shot to the right side of the goal for a 1-0 Gamecock lead.
At the 62:39 mark, Grimsley took a long pass from Miller at midfield to the right side of the 18 and dribbled to the edge of the six. She fired a shot to the left corner of the net past a diving Williams for a 2-0 USC lead.
“We have a lot of things to change in terms of our confidence,” head coach Erin Aubry said. “It’s an uphill battle. We have played with every team and with every ranked team. We beat ourselves unfortunately. We just lacked confidence coming out of the locker room and South Carolina did a great job. They smelled that fear a little bit and went after it.”
The two goals scored by South Carolina were the most allowed by the Razorbacks since Oct. 2 when Arkansas dropped a 2-1 decision at Auburn. In the five games between, Arkansas allowed just one goal, which came in a 1-0 overtime loss to No. 21 Ole Miss on Sunday.
USC out-shot the Razorbacks 15-11 with an 8-4 advantage in the second half. Arkansas had just three shots on goal to eight for the Gamecocks. USC had a 4-1 advantage on corner kicks. Arkansas’ shots on goal came from Kim Schleif, Allie Chandler and Erin Moskos.
In the first half, both teams got off seven shots. USC had three shots on goal and Arkansas two. South Carolina had three corner kicks while UA had one.
Despite the loss, Aubry singled out strong performances.
“Kim Schleif played an amazing game,” she said. “We put her in a couple of different positions because we needed more and more of her heart and fearlessness. I also thought Camille Flores did a good job.
“It’s good to see some individuals come out and battle hard,” Aubry said. “That’s a good thing for both them and the team to see and to use as examples.”
Arkansas is home on Sunday for a 12:07 p.m. tilt against No. 12 Florida. The game is being televised by Cox Sports Television.
“We’re excited to be back with our fans,” Aubry said. “We’re looking forward to coming home and having that advantage to ourselves. Our fans are awesome.”
The Florida game continues the toughest stretch in school history. After playing No. 21 Ole Miss and No. 10 South Carolina, Florida marks the third straight ranked opponent for Arkansas, which is playing three consecutive ranked teams for the first time in school history.
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