South Carolina junior forward Savannah McCaskill scored two second-half goals to push the top-seeded Gamecocks past eighth-seeded Texas A&M 2-1 in the SEC quarterfinals Wednesday night at Orange Beach Sports Complex.
The victory extended No. 2 Carolina's (18-0-1) program-best winning streak to 18 matches and advanced the Gamecocks into the league's semifinal round for the fifth time in the last eight years. The Aggies fell to 11-8-1 overall with the loss.
After heading into halftime down 1-0, South Carolina notched the equalizer in the 58th minute when senior center back Kaleigh Kurtz's long pass from midfield found McCaskill near the top of the box. The striker collected the pass and alertly chipped the ball into the back of the net after seeing Aggie goalkeeper Danielle Rice come off her line. With the tally, the Irmo graduate set a new program single-season record with 15 goals.
Seven minutes later, McCaskill scored a near-identical goal to push Carolina's advantage to two in the 65th minute. Gamecock freshman goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski earned the assist on the scoring play, as her pass from the opposite end of the field located McCaskill. The striker floated a shot into the net past Rice. Krzeczowski's assist was the first of her career.
Carolina controlled possession for much of the second half, and Texas A&M was limited to just three shots on goal in the final period. The Gamecocks ended the match with a 16-8 shot advantage and put six attempts on frame. Each team attempted five corner kicks, while Krzeczowski totaled three saves to remain perfect (15-0-1) on the year.
Carolina advances to Friday's semi-finals.