No. 15 South Carolina women's soccer defeated No. 3 Arkansas 2-1 on the road Friday night for the second highest ranked win in program history. Sophomore midfielder Samantha Chang scored the game-winning goal in the second half to give the program its sixth win over a top five opponent.
"We expected a battle and we got that tonight," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "We handled ourselves well and settled the game when we could and we were dangerous with our opportunities as well. We talked before the game about how great of an opportunity this was and we went into this game trying to prove ourselves and do something that not a lot of people thought we could do on the road against Arkansas. We believed in what we could do and the team stuck together tonight."
The scoring started with freshman Corinna Zullo scoring her first collegiate goal in the 37th minute off the bench to put the Gamecocks ahead 1-0. The goal came after fellow freshman Rylee Forster sent a ball into the box that Zullo flicked on goal with her head. Arkansas' keeper misplayed the ball and it resulted in a Carolina lead heading into the locker room.
Arkansas managed to net an equalizer in the second half when Anna Podojil took advantage of a misplayed ball in the box and slotted home her third goal of the season for the Razorbacks.
Carolina responded 14 minutes later in the 71st minute when Chang found space behind the Arkansas' defense. Catherine Barry founded Claire Griffiths in the middle of the field where the redshirt junior delivered a brilliant final pass that Chang connected on for her first goal of the season giving the Gamecocks a 2-1 advantage on the road.
"We had to break some pressure tonight and Claire did a fantastic job in the wide area to create that chance for Sam," Smith said. "Sam did a great job to run to goal, look for the ball and get in a position to score. That's what we needed and Sam did a good job at staying composed and finish the goal for us."
After the goal the Gamecocks' defense weathered a pair of Arkansas shots before shutting down the Razorbacks by not allowing a single shot in the final 16 minutes of action. Sophomore Heather Hinz secured the win playing all 90 minutes, making a career-high six saves in the victory.
"Heather was fantastic in goal tonight," Smith said. "She was facing a lot of threats and Arkansas does a great job at striking from long range and putting service in the box and I thought our defense was strong all night and was able to clear the ball most of the time and when they didn't, Heather was there to clean it up. Huge credit to Heather for stepping up knowing she was going to face a lot of dangerous balls in the box."
The win gives head coach Shelley Smith 299 wins for her career with 258 of those coming as the leader of the Gamecocks. The win is the highest win in program history since the 2007 Gamecocks defeated No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The win pushes the Gamecocks' overall record against SEC top-5 opponents to 3-2.
Carolina returns home to face rival Florida on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. on SEC Network. The Gamecocks and the Gators fought to a 1-1 draw in Gainesville in 2019.
The South Carolina Athletics Department announced ticketing information for the approximately 675 seats available for the four 2020 fall home matches. Only fans who had purchased season tickets for the upcoming season will have the ability to purchase single-game tickets. Season tickets, including the tickets with scarf option, for the 2020 season will not be honored and will be refunded.