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NCAA Game of the Week: South Carolina hands Clemson first loss

South Carolina defeated Clemson, 1-0, thanks to Elexa Bahr’s first-half strike. (photo courtesy of University of South Carolina)

The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated Clemson, 1-0, handing the Tigers their first loss of the 2017 season. Elexa Bahr scored the game winner in the 17th minute to give the seventh-ranked visitors bragging rights over their in-state rivals.

South Carolina entered the game as the No. 7 team in the nation, while the Tigers sat slightly higher in fourth, marking the first Top-10 meeting between the two teams. Clemson entered the match on a six-game winning streak, while the Gamecocks had a record blemished only by a loss on the road against Wake Forest. The win tonight in Clemson improves South Carolina’s record to 6-1-0 on the season while snapping the Tigers’ undefeated streak.

The win was courtesy of a goal scored in the 17th minute when Savannah McCaskill made a run towards goal before playing a short, diagonal ball to sophomore forward Elexa Bahr. Bahr timed her run so that she could get ahead of her defender and one-time the ball past Clemson keeper Sandy MacIver for the lone goal of the match. The goal is Bahr’s fourth of the season, giving her the edge over McCaskill as leading scorer for the Gamecocks.

With the assist, McCaskill tallied her 100th career point. The senior forward has 35 goals and 30 assists in her three-plus seasons in Columbia, and the season is just getting started. Her knack for finishing and vision in front of goal makes her the player to watch in the SEC and has led many name her a likely first rounder in next year’s NWSL College Draft.

Although MacIver let Bahr’s goal past, she came up big with a kick save late in the second half to deny McCaskill from securing the South Carolina win. On the opposite end of the field, Mikayla Krzeczowski made five saves to earn the clean sheet, her fourth of the season.

Next up for South Carolina is their first conference match against Alabama on September 15. Their home match against Jacksonville originally scheduled for Sunday was cancelled as Florida schools have cancelled all events through Thursday as a precaution ahead of Hurricane Irma. As for Clemson, they’ll next take the field on Saturday, September 16 against Notre Dame.

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