COLUMBIA, S.C. – Arkansas played South Carolina even in the second half on Sunday, but two first-half goals by the Gamecocks were the difference as USC posted a 3-1 Southeastern Conference soccer victory.
USC had a huge advantage in shots in the first half, but the Razorbacks held the Gamecocks without a shot for the final 20 minutes.
For the game, the Gamecocks led in shots, 16-9, and in shots on goal, 6-3, but the Razorbacks turned that around in the second half. USC led 14-3 and 5-1 in the first half. In the second, Arkansas led in shots, 6-2, and in shots on goal, 2-1.
Arkansas is now 4-13-0 overall and 2-8-0 in the SEC. South Carolina won its seventh straight to improve to 14-5-0 and 8-2-0.
Arkansas took the opening possession, moved downfield and got a quick shot from 30 yards out by Allie Chandler. USC got its first shot a minute later and scored the first goal of the game less than five minutes in.
At the 4:40 mark, Kortney Rhoades dribbled into the left side of the box and got by her defender. Rhoades drew goal keeper Emily Lillard out from the six, and Lillard dropped to the ground to block the shot, but Rhoades got the shot by Lillard and it rolled into an open net from about 15 yards away.
The Razorbacks avoided two other early scoring chances for the Gamecocks. Ten minutes in, Kayla Grimsley got into the box on the right side, drew Lillard out and got a shot away, but it rolled just wide of the left post. One minute later, Grimsley got a shot inside the six, but it hit the crossbar.
At 18:23, Arkansas just missed on an attack. Jeri Ann Okoro had the ball deep in the corner and crossed for Chandler, who sprinted into the box. The cross came in at the top of the six, but Chandler just missed getting to the ball and USC cleared.
USC made it 2-0 at 21:11. Christa Neary crossed from the far right across the goal. Grimsley played it into the six from the left and Danielle Au was there to head it in.
At 24:55, Chandler got free for a hard shot on goal, but it was right at keeper Sabrina D’Angelo, who made the save. At 31:30, following a USC foul, Sam Wolf played the free kick into the six and several Razorbacks were there, but D’Angelo went up to make the grab.
In the 40th minute, Lillard had her first two saves on consecutive plays. USC created a one-on-one chance inside the box. Lillard came out and dropped to the ground to block the shot. Moments later, the Gamecocks had another shot in the box. Lillard once again dropped to the ground for the save. She couldn’t maintain possession, but a defender was there to clear it out to midfield.
Lillard had three saves for the game, all in the first half.
South Carolina added to its lead early in the second half by pushing the margin to 3-0. At 48:56, Grimsley took a long pass just past midfield. She beat the defense and dribbled to the top right corner of the 18 where she launched a shot into the top left portion of the net, just above the outstretched hand of Lillard.
In the 53rd minute, USC passed from midfield back to D’Angelo. Chandler sprinted on the offensive, but D’Angelo came out of the box and got there just in time to kick it out or the Razorbacks would have had a one-on-keeper opportunity. Two minutes later, Wolf again passed into the box and Okoro was there, but D’Angelo took possession before Arkansas could take a shot.
In the 72nd minute, Chandler made a backward pass at midfield to Okoro, who made a move and got around three defenders.
She dribbled 30 yards, made another move to her right and took a right-footed shot from 25 yards away, but D’Angelo was there for the save.
In the 76th minute, Arkansas got on the board when Allen took a long shot from 35 yards out. It hit the crossbar and bounced out, but Beth Stratton was there to clean up and punch it in to get the Razorbacks within 3-1.
The Razorbacks had another chance with less than two minutes to go. Daniella O’Shea passed deep into the left corner for Chandler, who tried to pass into the box, but USC cleared. Arkansas took it back down and USC was called for a foul with one minute to play. Allen’s free kick came down inside the six and Wolf attempted a header which went just over the bar.
Chandler had four shots for Arkansas with one on goal. Stratton had two shots and the score. Allen, Wolf and Okoro also had shots.
Grimsley and Au led USC with five shots each. Grimsley had two on goal, one score and an assist.
Arkansas returns home this week for the regular-season finale on Friday at 7 p.m. against LSU at Razorback Field.