Oct. 5, 2012
The Gamecocks (3-6-4, 0-4-3 SEC) were paced by three saves from goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo, and her counterpart at Tennessee (9-3-2, 4-2-1) also collected three saves in addition to two saves the defenders were able to clear off the line in the first half to keep South Carolina off the board.
The teams played a nearly even first half with Tennessee taking a 6-4 shot advantage but the Gamecocks getting the two dangerous looks on goal with shots five minutes apart that were saved off the line by the Lady Vol defense. After Coryn Bajema's header in the 21st minute went slightly wide of the net to keep it scoreless, Taylor Leach nearly put the Gamecocks ahead in the 25th with her own header off an Andie Romness corner kick that beat the keeper but was saved off the line by a defender.
Five minutes later, Stevi Parker also had an attempt beat the goalkeeper only to find a defender keep it out of the net when her shot on an empty net in the 30th minute was cleared. At the end of the first 45 minutes, the Gamecocks also had a strong 3-0 advantage in corner kicks, a sign that the offense was finding its opportunities against their division opponent.
"I was pleased by our first half performance and how we came out and played well," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "We put ourselves in positions to score goals. They were right there. The second half was a different story, and that's what we're leaving the game disappointed in. We didn't finish how we wanted. To give up a goal is obviously disappointing and tonight we let ourselves down. We have to go back and make sure on Sunday we're ready."
South Carolina continued to press after the halftime break and were awarded a free kick 19 yards out after Danielle Au was tackled shy of the penalty area. Christa Neary's shot off the free kick in the 47th minute was saved by Eckel and was the last shot on goal before Tennessee's Caroline Brown broke the game open in the 55th with her goal after collecting a cross from Brittney Wade yards in front of the net.
Elizabeth Sinclair, playing in her first game in three weeks with an injury keeping her out of the past four matches, put a shot on goal in the 75th that Eckel was able to save to keep the Gamecocks scoreless. Caroline Gray sent one towards the upper corner of the net in the 80th that Eckel was able to jump and save.
The Lady Vols put two looks of their own on frame in the final minutes with Kylie Bono firing a rocket in the 83rd that D'Angelo tip-saved and Bono sending another attempt in the 86th that D'Angelo also kept out the net.
The match ended with Carolina holding a 5-4 advantage in shots on goal.
South Carolina remains home Sunday when the Georgia Bulldogs come to Stone Stadium for a 2 p.m. kick. Sunday is Alumni Day at The Graveyard.
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