Taylor Leach Powers No. 14 South Carolina to 2-0 Season-Opening Win

Senior defender scores two set piece goals in shutout victory.

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GREENVILLE, NC August 22, 2014 – Senior centerback Taylor Leach netted a pair of second-half goals to give No. 14 South Carolina a 2-0 win in the season opener at East Carolina on Friday night in Johnson Soccer Stadium.

Taylor Leach - SC Gamecocks women's soccer

Taylor Leach
SC Gamecocks women’s soccer

The Gamecocks kept possession for most of the first half, and the few times the Pirates moved the ball into their attacking third, the South Carolina defense thwarted any opportunities.

 

In the ninth minute freshman Savannah McCaskill saw an excellent chance off a long ball from Christa Neary, firing a shot towards goal on a one-on-one opportunity. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced down.

 

From the opening whistle of the second half, the Gamecock offense began to click, and they struck in the 50th minute.

 

After an ECU foul, Leach found net on a header setup by a free kick from senior Andie Romness taken from nearly 30 yards out. The first goal of the Gamecocks’ season gave them a 1-0 lead.

 

In the 62nd minute, an ECU corner kick provided one of its best chances of the night, but D’Angelo snatched it out of the air to snuff out the opportunity. The Pirates recorded just two shots on the night.

 

Just three minutes later, the Gamecocks earned the first of three corner kicks of their own in a five-minute stretch. The third time proved to be the charm for South Carolina as sophomore Chelsea Drennan served a ball into the box and found Leach on the other end. The Gamecock netted her second goal of the night on another header. The defender’s tally gave South Carolina a 2-0 advantage that held for the final score.

 

Game Changer

Senior Taylor Leach scored the first goal of the 2014 campaign in the 50th minute. The tally, assisted by fellow senior Andie Romness, proved to be the game winner.

 

Key Stat

The Gamecocks limited the Pirates to just two shots, both in the second half, in the shutout victory. South Carolina outshot their opponent 8-2.

 

Notables

  • With tonight’s road win, South Carolina is now 12-5-3 in season openers, including a 5-4-3 mark on the road.

• Senior Taylor Leach scored the first goal of the Gamecocks’ season in the 50th minute to give South Carolina a 1-0 lead.

• Tonight was the first multi-goal game of Leach’s career

• Senior Andie Romness and Chelsea Drennan recorded assists in the win.

• The Gamecocks put four of their eight shots on frame

• The shutout is the 20th of senior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo’s career.

• Three Gamecocks – Leach, McCaskill and Stevi Parker – recorded multiple shots.

• Freshman Savannah McCaskill drew her first career start

 

Quotable

South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith

Taylor (Leach) had an excellent game for us, as always. She’s fearless. She played great defense tonight as we shutout our opponent, and she came through for us on offense too. She had well-timed runs and great serves to set her up. She’s worked hard on trying to finish set pieces and it paid off tonight. It just showed off her senior leadership.

 

Taylor Leach, Senior Defender

Tonight was a strong start to our season. We adjusted some things after the first half ,and we came out ready to go in the second. We were able to put some goals away and we did it on set pieces, which was something we’ve been working on. We hope to keep our season going this way.

 

Up Next

The Gamecocks return to Columbia for their home opener against Samford on Sunday at 6 p.m. The match, which starts a five-game home stand, is South Carolina’s first broadcast on the SEC Network+, available only through WatchESPN.

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson

About the Author:

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson is the founder and Editor of Beach Carolina Magazine. Living along the coast of North Carolina, Mike has a passion for the beach and loves to bring news and events of the Carolinas to others around the world.

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