Oct. 29, 2012
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Tenth-seeded South Carolina (7-9-4) defeated seventh-seeded Arkansas (9-10-1) 3-2 in overtime in first-round SEC Tournament action at the Orange Beach Sportsplex on Monday afternoon. Stevi Parker scored the golden goal in the 94th minute to advance the Gamecocks to the quarterfinals.
"We're thrilled. We were lucky to be here as 10th seed with it coming down to last point. We just wanted to take advantage of coming here and getting a chance at postseason play, " said head coach Shelley Smith after the match.
After being held scoreless in the second half of the match, South Carolina netted the golden goal in the 94th minute. Freshman defender Caroline Gray sent a cross into the six-yard box that Parker connected with, depositing it into the net to send the Gamecocks to the next round.
"We thought we had chances on our set pieces against them and corners. Caroline got the ball freshman-to-freshman, and Stevi put that ball in the net. We told them that they have to be able to put themselves out there and leave it all on the field. Stevi came up with a huge goal for us."
The Gamecocks got out of the gate quickly, scoring in the fifth minute of the match. Junior forward Danielle Au worked a ball and got a shot off at the top of the box that went just inside the post to give South Carolina the early 1-0 advantage.
Arkansas responded in the 22nd minute when Ashleigh Ellenwood found herself in a one-on-one against Sabrina D'Angelo. Ellenwood forced D'Angelo to commit one way, allowing the Razorback to push the ball in to tie the match at 1-1.
The Razorbacks almost got the lead when Allie Tripp's free kick bounced off the crossbar in the 27th minute. But it was South Carolina who would regain the lead toward the end of the first half. In the 44th minute, Elizabeth Sinclair sent a cross into the box that Courtney Angotti-Smith got her head on and put in the back of the net.
South Carolina picked up where they left off in the first half, aggressively trying to score. Taylor Leach pushed a header just wide off of an Andie Romness corner kick just two minutes into the second half. Rae Wilson had South Carolina's best scoring opportunity of the second half during the 72nd minute when she got behind the Razorback goalkeeper and took a shot as she was falling. An Arkansas defender booted the ball out of the box in the nick of time to keep the score 2-1.
Arkansas leveled the score at 2-2 in the 74th minute when Allie Chandler scored a goal from 19 yards out. Both teams attacked as the clock was winding down, but neither found a solid scoring opportunity. Regulation ended with the score tied at 2-2, sending the Gamecocks and Razorbacks to overtime for the second time this season.
South Carolina fired off 16 shots, eight on frame. Au and Parker both had a team-leading three shots with Au putting one other on frame besides her goal. Ten Gamecocks registered shots in the match. D'Angelo, who was named second-team All-SEC just prior to kickoff, corralled four saves on the day.
Scoring for Arkansas was freshman forward Ellenwood and senior midfielder Chandler. The Razorbacks registered 13 shots in the match, with seven coming on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Kelly Roliard collected four saves.
South Carolina will face Texas A&M on Wed., Oct. 31, at 1 p.m. EDT in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. The Gamecocks fell to the Aggies 2-0 earlier this season after playing down a man for most of the match.
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