Aug. 27, 2011
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By Miquel Jacobs
TUCSON, Ariz. - South Carolina freshman Ali Whitney scored a screamer from over 30 yards out to propel the Gamecocks (2-1-0) to a 1-0 golden goal victory at Arizona (0-3-0) in double overtime Friday night. The match lasted three hours after the play was suspended for 45 minutes at halftime due to inclement weather near Mulcahy Stadium, ending at 1 a.m. ET.
Whitney scored her goal at 101:52 after Danielle Au fed her a ball from inside the penalty area. Her game-winner makes her just the third freshman in Gamecock history to score a golden goal, following in the footsteps of Lexi Tourtellote (Evansville - Oct. 16, 1995) and coincidentally Au, who hit the golden goal as a freshman last season to defeat Furman on Sept. 13, 2010.
Freshman goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo notched her first solo clean sheet with one save on the night, however her save proved to be key as she showed world class skill to deflect a rocket from 20 yards out on a set piece that would have won the game for Arizona in the first overtime period.
The overtime match was the first in the regular season for South Carolina since the team took a 1-0 victory against Furman last season on Sept. 12. The Gamecocks are now unbeaten in their last eight overtime games.
The teams played an even first half with both squads getting three shots off with none on frame. The Gamecocks did hold a 3-1 edge in corner kicks, the most notable coming in the 18th minute when Kayla Grimsley's corner found Christa Neary for a header that hit the crossbar before sliding out. The Wildcats had their best look come in the eighth minute when Renae Cuellar snuck behind the Gamecock backline for an empty look at D'Angelo in goal, but the freshman's pressure between the pipes led Cuellar to send her dribbler wide of the net.
The game was suspended for 45 minutes at halftime with the threat of inclement weather around the stadium looming.
When the second half kicked off at 11:45 p.m. (ET), the Gamecocks seemingly followed the same pattern as the past two games, taking the upper hand for a majority of the next 45 minutes. However, both teams only managed to register one shot on goal in the period. Arizona was the first to test a keeper with a dribbler in the 59th minute that D'Angelo easily corralled. The Gamecocks were able to get a shot on goal in the 75th with Kortney Rhoades's shot saved by Arizona goalkeeper Ashley Jett.
Heading to overtime, the teams both had one shot on goal with Arizona leading the total shot count 7-6. Carolina held a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.
The Wildcats nearly won the game in the 95th with a rocket on a set piece from 20 yards out that required the world class save from D'Angelo to keep the Gamecocks in the match. Whitney's golden goal for the Gamecocks came just 1:52 into the second overtime period.
South Carolina concludes its season opening road trip on Sunday when the team takes on Arizona State (1-0-0) at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 4 p.m. (ET).
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