Gamecocks Blank SMU 2-0
Sep 8, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. - In dominating fashion, South Carolina (5-0-1) defeated SMU (3-3-0) 2-0 this afternoon at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks controlled the match from start to finish, peppering the Mustang goal to the tune of 20 shots.
"I'm very pleased with the performance," Head Coach Shelley Smith said. "We talked about not coming out flat. It was an emotional, physically tough game Friday night. It was a great win and that's a dangerous thing coming into a Sunday game. You know you're going to be tired so you need to come out strong because every game matters. I'm proud of the players the way that they turned around, came back and took care of business at home. We had contributions from a lot of different players and that really helped us get through a tiring game."
The Gamecocks dictated the first half on the offensive end which saw them hold a 10-4 shot advantage going into the break, but without a goal, the Garnet and Black had to amp up their pressure right from the get go in the final 45 minutes.
After nearly scoring on a diving header in the second minute of the game, sophomore midfielder Bay Daniel recorded her first career goal in the 51st minute to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. Senior midfielder Elizabeth Sinclair dropped back into the center of South Carolina's backline and sent a long ball up the left flank to surging left back Caroline Gray who hit a quick cross to Daniel who was sitting on the far post for an easy finish into the back of the net.
The 64th minute saw a miscue from the Mustang defense that senior striker Danielle Au nearly made them pay for. A slow rolling pass back to SMU's Shannon Maroney led the keeper to get caught in a bad position after not coming out to get ball. Au took off after the loose ball and got a touch on it before an SMU defender was able to track back and knock the ball out across the end line.
Things got dicey less than two minutes later as SMU midfielder Rikki Clark was taken down inside the penalty box while trying to get to the end line. The sophomore stepped up and went left with the attempt, but junior keeper Sabrina D'Angelo kept the shutout alive with a diving stop to knock it away. Redshirt junior striker Shelby Redman came in and took a crack at the rebound, but the attempt was again knocked away again by the Gamecocks standout keeper.
Minutes later, Au nearly found the top left corner on a free kick from 25 yards out after a Mustang foul, but the attempt sailed just high. Less than a minute later, great one-touch play in the Mustang box from freshmen Daija Griffin and Sophie Groff nearly led to another goal, but Maroney was able to smother Griffin's point blank attempt.
In the 80th minute, the Gamecocks got the insurance goal they were looking for, as freshman forward Vanessa Kovar was sitting with the ball at the top of the box and slotted a through ball to the right side of the goal to Daniel who hit a one-touch pass to the far post to midfielder Raina Johnson. The sophomore tapped in the ball past the Mustang keeper for her team-leading third goal of the season and third-straight game with a goal.
South Carolina held SMU at bay for the remainder of the game and held a decisive 20-9 shot advantage to end the day with Au leading the team with five shots, while Daniel and junior defender Christa Neary chipped in three apiece. Aside from D'Angelo's back-to-back stops to help preserve her fifth shutout this season and 12th of her career, she finished the afternoon with four total stops, including one on an open header from Redman in the 19th minute.
The Gamecocks continue their homestand Thursday as they host South Florida at 7 p.m., at Stone Stadium.
Season tickets for women's soccer, which includes admission to all home games, are currently on sale in the Gamecock Ticket Office. Fans can purchase tickets online at GamecocksOnline.com, or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS. Cost for season tickets for women's soccer is $25 for adults and $10 for youth (17 and under).