Freshmen Lead Gamecocks In Non-Conference Finale Win, 3-0
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Freshman Courtney Angotti-Smith scored a brace and classmate Raina Johnson added another as the freshman Gamecocks led South Carolina (3-2-1) to a 3-0 victory against East Carolina (3-4-0) in the non-conference finale at Stone Stadium.
Angotti-Smith and Johnson scored their first career goals on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to continue the trend of strong scoring outputs by first-year players for Shelley Smith's team. Through four matches, Angotti-Smith has seven points on two goals and three assists, and the freshman class as a whole has scored seven of South Carolina's nine goals this season.
"They both came up huge for us," Smith said of the freshmen. "It's something we talked about for this game. Substitutes make a difference for us. Obviously both of them came in and scored within a few minutes of them coming on to the field. They did their jobs perfectly to come into the game, make an impact and give us a lift. Credit to both of them to do a good job for us."
Earning assists on the day were Elizabeth Sinclair, Lani Smith, Danielle Au, Coryn Bajema and Stevi Parker. The points were the first of the season for juniors Sinclair and Au. South Carolina concluded the match with a 20-2 shot advantage - allowing no shots on goal - and 9-2 edge in corner kicks. The two shots allowed were the fewest by a team since the Gamecocks held Ole Miss to only one shot in a 3-0 victory on October 1, 2010. That match was also the last time the Gamecocks held an opponent without a single shot on frame.
Angotti-Smith put the Gamecocks ahead in the 23rd minute with a strike 16 yards out from a feed by Sinclair to give the early 1-0 lead. The Goose Creek native entered the match just 79 seconds earlier and immediately made her presence known on the pitch. However, despite a 12-2 shot advantage in the opening half, the Gamecocks weren't able to capitalize on the early attempts, something that Smith talked to her team about at the break.
"We didn't follow the gameplan that we should have,' Smith said of the first half effort. "The game got away from us. The second half we played soccer. It looked nice. It was creative. We played to feet and moved the ball. For the most part we were organized defensively. We had very few turnovers compared to the first half. That's the way we need to play."
The Gamecocks took the halftime to speech to heart and responded with a two-goal second half while keeping the Pirates without a single shot. Sophomore goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo was the benefactor of a defensive effort that allowed zero shots on goal in 90 minutes of action for her first shutout of the season and fifth of her career.
Johnson tallied the second goal of the match at 61:15 with assists by Au and Smith after Au sent a ball into the box that Smith headed up to allow Johnson to tap it across the line for the 2-0 advantage. Angotti-Smith would add the final tally at 69:43 with a header from Parker's cross to cap a solid first two weeks for the freshman.
"It was very important to come out and show what we could do this time, because we didn't do well (against Clemson)," Johnson said of getting the victory.
South Carolina opens SEC play next weekend when Mississippi State and Missouri visit Stone Stadium. The Bulldogs and Gamecocks will kickoff Friday at 7 p.m., and the Sunday match against league-newcomer Missouri will air live on ESPNU at 2 p.m.