Sept. 12, 2010
By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Freshman Danielle Au ended 100 minutes of scoreless action with her second goal of the weekend to lead No. 21 South Carolina (5-1-1) to a 1-0 double-overtime victory against Furman (4-3-0) at Stone Stadium. Au scored a header off a chip from Christine Watts to lead the Gamecocks to their fourth consecutive Carolina's Cup tournament title, an annual four-team competition that saw Clemson, Furman and High Point play in front of a combined 4,562 fans on Friday and Sunday.
Au, the Carolina's Cup MVP, notched her second goal of the weekend after also scoring in Friday's 2-0 shutout of Clemson. Her golden goal against the Paladins was the closing statement in a game that saw South Carolina dominate possession with a 26-4 edge in shots (13-0 shots on goal margin) and a 7-0 edge in corner kicks.
"We deserved to win today," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "We outshot them by a lot. It's just one of those years so far where we're getting opportunities but not able to finish them. We need to fix that going into our next game, but the fact that we're creating so many chances makes me proud of our team's effort."
Lowe's Senior CLASS Award nominee Mollie Patton had her lightest day in goal this year by collecting her fifth shutout of the season thanks to a Carolina defense that stifled the Paladins to only three shots in the first half and one in the final 56 minutes. The shutout moves Patton to 27 in her career and only six shy of setting the SEC all-time shutouts record.
For their collective efforts, Au and Watts were both named to the Carolina's Cup All-Tournament team, along with teammates Brittiny Rhoades and Kayla Grimsley, who scored the game-winner Friday. South Carolina, unbeaten and untied in the tournament since the 2007 season, went 2-0 on the weekend while Furman and High Point each went 1-1. Clemson went 0-2 on the weekend.
"Danielle has been tremendous for us all weekend," Smith said. "(Friday) she had her best game (for us) against Clemson. She was playing very well and was such a threat coming out the midfield against them. She was the difference in our win Friday. We put a lot on a freshman's shoulders today and she came through."
It was a difficult day for the Gamecocks in regards to getting the ball into the net. With temperatures reaching 94 degrees at kickoff, the teams started off more passive with the first shot of the game coming courtesy of Brittiny Rhoades in the 22nd minute. The stat was slightly deceptive in regards to the Gamecock efforts as the team had a few early looks that they couldn't get off, including 30 seconds into the game when Grimsley fed a ball into the 6-yard box that just missed the foot of an open Maria Petroni for the easy goal.
The Paladins threatened early with three shots in a 10 second span in the 28th minute, but two were blocked by the Carolina backline and the third sailed wide left of the net. Furman would only get one more shot in the game, and that attempt came two minutes into the second half and sailed high.
Carolina would get two attempts in the game that sent the crowd to their feet, but the goal post and crossbar remained unkind to the Gamecocks with Au hitting the crossbar in the first half and Brooke Jacobs having a shot hit the inside of the far post and bounce back out in the 92nd minute. Au, who also hit the crossbar Friday night, finally broke through 52 seconds into the second overtime period with her goal to end the game.
The golden goal marks the second consecutive meeting between the Gamecocks and Paladins that South Carolina won the game in extra time. Kim Miller scored a penalty kick in the first overtime period against Furman on Sept. 7, 2008 to give South Carolina the Carolina's Cup tournament title that year as well.
South Carolina concludes its six-match homestand with a Thursday night match against nationally-ranked Minnesota before heading on the road to take on No. 16 Wake Forest next Sunday.
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