Gamecocks Knock Off No. 22 Auburn, 3-1
Danielle Au caps three-goal weekend with final tally of the day
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South
Carolina scored at least three goals for the third consecutive game to
knock off No. 22 Auburn 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Stone Stadium. Maria
Petroni and Gabrielle Gilbert scored first half goals off corner kicks
before Danielle Au iced the win in the 66th minute to leads the
Gamecocks to their second victory against a ranked opponent this season.
win improves South Carolina to 10-5-0 and 4-2-0 in the SEC while Auburn
drops their third straight to fall to 9-4-1 overall and 3-3-0 in
conference play. South Carolina previously knocked off then-No. 11
Tennessee in Knoxville by a 2-1 score for their first win against a
ranked opponent this year.
“You could see our team really coming
together (recently),” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said.
“They’ve figured out offensively how to play off each other much
better. That’s taken time, work and a lot of coordination between those
players. They feel it and they’ve figured some things out. Credit to
them to get the goals and create so many chances for each other. Our
defense has played very solid and taken pressure off us because they’re
making good decisions. That leads to your offensive chances, so credit
to both sides of the ball. We’re a better team than what our record
shows. We’re playing at the great potential we have and continuing to
do better. That’s what you want to do at the end of the season, and
definitely during conference play.”
For the second straight
Sunday match Petroni scored an early first half goal off an Ali Whitney
corner kick to put the Gamecocks ahead 1-0 at 26:32. Last Sunday on
ESPNU, the duo connected just two minutes into the match before doing
so again this Sunday on a game televised by CSS and ESPN3.com.
had an awesome in-swinging corner from Ali Whitney,” Petroni said. “Her
set pieces have been key for us. We’ve scored four or five goals off of
her. She just swung it in and I got a knee off of it. We had a few
rough games at the start of SEC play, but we’ve come together as a
team. We’re working our butts off. We’re all running for each other and
picking each other up. It’s definitely an intensity change. We can beat
anybody the way we played today.”
Sophomore Gabrielle Gilbert
scored the game-winner at 39:14 off a corner kick by Kayla Grimsley to
put the Gamecocks ahead 2-0. Grimsley’s corner was headed down by Ellen
Fahey and volleyed into the net by Gilbert for her first game winner of
the season. The assist by Grimsley was her fourth of the weekend.
Gilbert later assisted Au’s goal with a thru ball that Au finished to
the far post to give the Gamecocks a 3-1 lead at 65:21.
ended a spectacular weekend for Au who had three goals in wins against
Alabama and Auburn. It is the third consecutive season that the
Gamecocks took the maximum six points against the two Alabama schools.
played a great ball,” Au said. “Our offense has been really good the
past three games. We’ve had great teamwork, so it’s great that I had
the opportunity to finish off a ball. We knew we had to work together.
We knew if our offense clicks it will generate a lot of goals.”
King scored the lone goal for Auburn just 17 seconds into the second
half when All-American Katy Frierson sent a ball into the box that King
Freshman goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo recorded
seven saves in the match, one shy of her career high. The freshman
continues to impress in her rookie campaign for the Gamecocks.
the third straight game, South Carolina was on from the start with an
amazing display that resulted in 19 shots and 10 corner kicks. The
Gamecocks nearly took the lead in the eighth minute when Fahey finished
a header off a Grimsley corner kick, but the ref called a foul on the
play after the ball crossed the line. The Tigers, who were able to
control much of the possession in the opening 15 minutes, were gifted
an opportunity in the 19th minute when King found herself alone in
front of the net, but the senior sent her shot over the goal. Kortney
Rhoades gave two looks in the middle of the half with a ball in the
21st that slid along the line before missing wide and a shot in the
25th that Auburn’s Amy Howard made a diving save to collect.
two minutes later, Petroni opened the scoring with a goal on Whitney’s
corner kick that grazed by the endline and straight to the forward.
Gilbert made it 2-0 in the 40th with her volley to give the Gamecocks
the 2-0 lead going into the break.
The Tigers struck quick after
the break with King’s goal just 17 seconds into the restart. The
Gamecocks immediately went on the offensive to try and reclaim the
two-goal lead with a shot by Au that beat the keeper missed wide in the
52nd and a blast by Elizabeth Sinclair in the 54th that clanked off the
cross bar. Following Au’s goal in the 66th minute, the Gamecocks
coasted through the final whistle to take the victory and three points
crucial towards the SEC standings.
South Carolina hits the road
next weekend with a trip to the Magnolia State to jump-start a
three-match road swing. The Gamecocks will take on Mississippi State
Friday and Ole Miss Sunday to continue competition against the SEC West