COLUMBIA, S.C. -
Sophomore Sophie Groff scored two goals and No. 12 South Carolina (4-0-0) turned in another stellar defensive effort as the Gamecocks defeated Milwaukee (1-3-0) to earn head coach Shelley Smith her 200th career win. The 2-0 result gave South Carolina the Garnet & Black Classic championship on Sunday afternoon at Stone Stadium.
Milwaukee tried to impose their will on the Gamecocks early, earning a corner kick opportunity in the first minute of the match. They nearly got on the board after South Carolina was whistled for a foul in the box in the 11th minute. Maria Stephans took the awarded for the Panthers. Despite not being tested in the first matches of the season, Sabrina D'Angelo made a diving save to her right kept the shutout effort alive.
In a run ignited by D'Angelo's penalty save, Groff put the Gamecocks on the board in the 14th minute with an unassisted goal. Groff, who had the winning assist against No. 22 Boston University on Friday night, took a ball on the endline and beat two defenders, slotting the shot between the near post and Milwaukee keeper Paige Lincicum. The ball found the net at the far post for the early 1-0 lead.
Milwaukee looked to equalize just 10 minutes later with Kelly Lewers, the reigning Horizon League Player of the Year, drawing D'Angelo out of net on a run towards goal. D'Angelo and Andie Romness were there to make the play for South Carolina.
In the 35th minute, Milwaukee set up a set piece just outside of the box. Amy Kauffung took the shot, but the wall of Gamecock defenders held their line and blocked the chance to keep the score 1-0 at the half.
In the second period, the Gamecocks created multiple quality opportunities, with many chances just missing the goal.
Freshman Savannah McCaskill had a great run off a ball from junior Raina Johnson. Just inside of the 18-yard box, Lincicum met the Gamecock and blocked the shot. The Milwaukee keeper could not corral the ball, and Groff took the rebound with the Panther keeper out of position. She sent the shot just high of the cross bar though.
Groff would add a second tally in the 80th minute on a ball sent from freshman Savannah McCaskill. Groff drew Lincicum out of net again, this time putting it past her with a left-footed shot for the 2-0 lead.
With Milwaukee trying to force the effort against the Gamecocks, goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo saved a penalty kick from the Panthers' Maria Stephans to keep the shutout streak alive. The play was the start of the run up to Sophie Groff's first goal of the match.
Sophomore Sophie Groff, who scored three goals as a freshman last year, posted the first multi-goal game of her career at South Carolina. Groff tallied five points over the weekend's Garnet & Black Classic after also adding the game-winning assist in the Gamecocks' 1-0 double overtime win over No. 22 Boston University on Friday night.
The win is head coach Shelley Smith's 200th career victory. Smith has posted 158 of those wins at the helm of the Garnet and Black.
Today's result extends the Gamecocks' winning streak at Stone Stadium to 14, the longest in program history. South Carolina is just one result away from tying the longest unbeaten streak at home, a stretch of 15 matches spanning the 2006-07 seasons.
Groff joins Taylor Leach, who scored a pair of tallies at ECU in the season opener, as Gamecocks who have notched multi-goal games this season.
Savannah McCaskill's assist on Groff's second goal is the first point of her career at South Carolina.
Quotable South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith
On the weekend's results...
I'm very pleased with the performance of our team this weekend, especially Friday night when we dug out a 1-0 win over Boston University. Then today, we came out and played after playing all of those minutes. We played very well to start the game. Unfortunately we didn't finish as many chances as we would have liked, but we kept at it. It was hot today, so the pace was a little slower, but we did what we needed to do to keep the ball and find the opportunities. Raina (Johnson) and Sophie (Groff) really stepped up this weekend in the tournament to finish our chances and make sure we were on the winning side of things.
On her 200th career victory...
It's a great accomplishment. I don't keep track of the wins. The team is happy for me and I'm so pleased for our staff and our program here. I thank the team for their efforts to continue to get those wins and hopefully we'll get a few more this season.
South Carolina rounds out its five-game home stand at Stone Stadium with matches against intrastate rival Clemson on Fri., Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. and High Point on Sun., Sept. 7, at 1 p.m.
Garnet & Black Classic All-Tournament Team Sabrina D'Angelo, South Carolina Raina Johnson, South Carolina Sophie Groff, South Carolina Stevi Parker, South Carolina
McKenzie Hollenbaugh, Boston University
Kai Miller, Boston University
Rachel Blauner, Boston University
Morgan LaPlant, Milwaukee
Rachael Van Keulen, Milwaukee
Sara Cardamone, College of Charleston
Rio Speller-Drews, College of Charleston