South Carolina women’s soccer didn’t lose a match in SEC play this season, but the Gamecocks didn’t earn a regular-season conference or even division title. USC even beat No. 1 seed Arkansas in the regular season.
Now the Gamecocks have their hardware.
No. 7 USC edged the Razorbacks 1-0 Sunday in the SEC tournament championship match in Orange Beach, Alabama. The Gamecocks never trailed in the win.
South Carolina’s last and only tournament title was in 2009.
“This was our milestone for this team,” Gamecocks keeper Mikayla Krzeczowski told the SEC Network. “All three years I’ve been here, we’ve either gotten to semis or quarters, and we kind of didn’t do our best. This was the end game. We got the SEC regular season title taken away from us. It was a little bit our fault, so we wanted to come in here and then to make a statement for NCAAs.”
USC (16-1-3) went ahead early on a goal from Gamecocks forward Ryan Gareis in the 27th minute. The assist was from Sutton Jones.
Krzeczowski stood tall with some big stops in the late going. She had three saves. USC was outshot 10-6 and had a 7-3 deficit in corner kicks.
The Gamecocks came through Georgia and Vanderbilt to reach the title match, both wins by shutout. USC’s undefeated conference season was the third for the program in four years.
Shelley Smith’s squad closed the season as the No. 7 team in the country. Up next is the NCAA Tournament, and the full bracket will be announced at 4:30 p.m. Monday.