Oct. 21, 2007
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Erin Sullivan notched her second game-winning goal of the weekend and Laura Armstrong recorded her second consecutive shutout as the South Carolina women's soccer team downed No. 25 Auburn, 1-0, Sunday afternoon at Stone Stadium. Carolina, winners of three straight, extend their unbeaten streak to four games and improve to a school-record and SEC leading 10 shutouts on the season.
The victory is the second for Carolina (12-4-1, 4-3-1 SEC) over a ranked team this season after also shutting out then-No. 1 North Carolina in the season opener. It is the first time that the Gamecocks have defeated two ranked teams in a single season.
Armstrong registered one save in improving her season record to 5-1-0. All five victories were shutouts, including two this weekend.
"Laura came up big," head coach Shelley Smith said. "She played very well in the Friday night game as well. She had a solid weekend. She and (Lindsay Thorstenson), when called on, have been great for us, and that will help us going forward."
Sullivan recorded the goal just 7:33 into the match as the Gamecocks raced to a quick start in attacking the Tiger defense. After the goalkeeper saved Sullivan's header in the seventh minute, Darcel Mollon stole the ball at midfield on the reset and used fancy footwork to play the ball to Sullivan for an open look on goal for the score. The goal was the seventh of the season for Sullivan and her third game-winning goal of the season after also scoring first in Carolina's win against Alabama Friday.
"(Sullivan's) been in the mix of the attack the entire (season)," Smith said. "She's been a little frustrated that she didn't get some of the goals to fall. It's been nice for her to finish the attack because she's been so creative on the attack. When she's not scoring goals, she's creating (opportunities), but it's nice to see her back on the scoring track."
The Gamecocks almost added a second goal eight seconds later when Danila Monteiro beat the defense for an open look on goal, but Allison Whitfield registered the save to end the threat. Whitfield finished the game with eight saves.
Carolina threatened to tack on more when they registered four shots in a two-minute span early in the second half, all coming off Shannon Bigbie corner kick opportunities. The scrambles in the box put Carolina in position with the shots but three of the attempts were deflected at the goal line by the Auburn defenders while Whitfield saved the fourth.
"We talked about (attacking early) all year," Smith said. "We created chances early in games. It takes some pressure off you when you can score that early goal. Scoring early has helped for sure. I'm proud of the way the girls came out and played and continue to play. We've learned from mistakes early this season and that's a great reward to see different results now."
The Gamecocks registered a 14-6 shot advantage and limited Auburn to only one shot on goal. Carolina also enjoyed a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks.
South Carolina returns to action Thursday night when they travel to Baton Rouge for a tilt against No. 24 LSU. The Tigers carry a 10-2-5 overall record and are 4-1-3 in conference play after a 1-1 draw at Kentucky Sunday.
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