Senior forward Raina Johnson’s game-winner in the 89th minute carried the No. 17 South Carolina women’s soccer team to a 2-1 win over No. 4 Texas A&M in its SEC home opener Thursday night at Stone Stadium.
The Gamecocks, winners of seven straight, moved to 9-1-0 overall and 3-0-0 in SEC play with the victory, while the Aggies (9-1-0, 2-1-0 SEC) suffered their first conference loss with the setback.
Johnson’s goal came following a volley into the box from USC midfielder Stevi Parker. Parker’s pass bounced over Texas A&M goalkeeper Taylor Saucier and headed toward the end line, where forward Sophie Groff flicked the ball back into play near the left side of the box. Groff’s cross found Johnson, who headed the ball into the back of the net.
“It was good to come back after trailing at half,” USC coach Shelley Smith said. “We put a lot of pressure on (Texas A&M) throughout the match, and we were able to finally find the back of the net. We were all over them on the offensive end and we deserved to win tonight against a very good Texas A&M team.”
Forward Daija Griffin scored the Gamecocks’ first goal of the night.
The Gamecocks finished the match with a 15-8 shot advantage and outshot the Aggies 10-4 in the final 45 minutes. USC goalkeeper Abby Crider moved to a perfect 4-0 on the season with the victory after tallying three saves in the contest.
Thursday’s win marked South Carolina’s first-ever win over Texas A&M. The Gamecocks entered the match with an all-time record of 0-5-1 against the Aggies.
USC’s 3-0 record in SEC play marks its best start to conference play since the 2010 season.
The Gamecocks host Alabama at Stone Stadium at 6 p.m. Sunday.