No. 3-ranked South Carolina edged No. 20 Colorado 1-0 with a penalty kick goal during the second half of the match in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night at Stone Stadium in Columbia, S.C. The loss ended the season for the Buffaloes, who finished with a 15-6-1 record, tying the school record for most wins in a season.
The Gamecocks (20-1-1) will move on to the third round and face No. 4 BYU on Saturday at home in Columbia. The Buffs had been seeking the program's third Sweet 16 appearance.
The match remained scoreless until the 74th minute when a penalty kick was awarded to the Gamecocks after a foul in front of the net. Sophie Groff converted for SC, firing left when Buffs goalie Jalen Tompkins guessed right, putting the Buffs behind 1-0.
"First off, I want to congratulate South Carolina. [They are] a fantastic team, well-coached, well-deserving of their No. 1 seed and they've had a great season so we knew it would be a huge challenge for us on the road," coach Danny Sanchez said. "Having said all of that, I felt we played well. I thought we came into a tough environment and competed."
The best chance of the night came for CU in the 55th minute when Emily Bruder was all alone ahead of SC's defense from 25 yards out, but her shot from inside the box was saved. Three minutes later, a header by Danica Evans went inches right of the goal.
"I thought our game plan was going OK, we were containing their players. We were starting to get a little stretched out, but when the game started getting stretched, I thought it was creating more room for Emily and Danica and some of our attackers, so we were ok with it," Sanchez said. "Once South Carolina got the goal with 16 minutes to go, obviously we pushed more numbers forward and created more. But at the end of the day, there's a reason they've given up eight or nine goals all season."
CU pressured the Gamecocks late, but came up empty.
"We just kept pushing as a team once they got the PK and scored. We knew we had to keep going and if we were doing well on the attack, we had to focus on keeping the ball and going to goal," Evans said. 'We got chances, but in the end, we couldn't put them away."
South Carolina 1, Colorado 0
At Stone StadiumColorado 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — South Carolina Sophie Groff (penalty kick), 74th minute
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Colorado: Tompkins (90-1-1); South Carolina: Krzeczowski (90-0-5)