South Carolina wins SEC Soccer Championship
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 7 South Carolina women's soccer (16-1-3, 7-0-3 SEC) captured its second SEC Tournament championship with a 1-0 win over Arkansas in Orange Beach, Ala. on Sunday afternoon. Junior forward Ryan Gareis netted the game-winning goal with the help of sophomore defender Sutton Jones.
"This was the end game for us," senior goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski said after the win. "We had the regular season SEC crown take away from us, and it was our own fault. We wanted to come in here and make a statement for NCAAs, and that's exactly what this team did."
The Gamecocks shut out every opponent they faced in the SEC Tournament, defeating Georgia 1-0, Vanderbilt 2-0 and No. 6 Arkansas 1-0 on their way to the title.
Gareis' goal is the fifth of her 2019 junior campaign. In the 27th minute, after a towering pass from Jones, Gareis settled under the ball after a misplay by the Arkansas defense. Gareis then squared up and fired home the goal to the right side of the goal with her left foot, putting Carolina on top in the first half.
The assist for Jones made her the only Gamecock in the 2019 SEC Tournament to register a goal and an assist. The goal for Gareis marked the third different game-winning goal scorer during Carolina' championship run.
The remainder of the match the Gamecocks were bombarded with dumping passes and long distance attacks from the Razorbacks. Carolina's defense remained stout, keeping Arkansas scoreless for the second time this season. The shutout is Krzeczowski's 47th of her career, moving her into a tie for fifth in the NCAA women's soccer all-time record books. Krzeczowski was only forced to make six saves in the three matches for the Gamecocks, but again and again collected dangerous crosses throughout the tournament.
The outstanding defensive showcase the Gamecocks showed reflected in the SEC All-Tournament team. Captain defender Grace Fisk was named the tournament MVP while Fisk, Krzeczowski, Jones and Jyllissa Harris were named to the All-Tournament team.