Sept. 15, 2004
Columbia, S.C. –
Sarah Lentz and Amanda Thurber each scored one goal as the South Carolina women’s soccer team (5-3) knocked off seventh ranked Clemson 2-0 on Wednesday night at Stone Stadium. The victory is South Carolina’s first against Clemson since the 1996 season and USC’s first win over a ranked opponent since 1998 vs. Georgia.
“This is the victory that our team needed,” said USC head coach Shelley Smith. “Beating Clemson is always a huge win for any Carolina team. The fact that they are nationally ranked and losing by a couple goals in our last two contests, I think we did a great job to put together 90 minutes. It’s what we’ve talked about and it’s what we didn’t do in Virginia last weekend. We learned from that and came out and our players really stepped up very well to compete and win this match.
USC wasted no time getting on top of the Tigers with a goal in the 11th minute by senior defender Sarah Lentz. Ashley Kirk’s corner kick sailed to the far post and was headed on forward by Kimmy Gillespie, with Sarah Lentz knocking the shot in on the right side of the goal box to give Carolina a one-goal lead.
“It was a big goal by Sarah to put us ahead early,” said Coach Smith. “I’m so proud of our offense and how we have come together to create scoring chances. We have to make sure our defense continues to keep playing like it did tonight.”
The match would remain 1-0 until late in the second half as both teams battled throughout the match. Amanda Thurber would put the finishing touches on the match with a goal at 83:20 to give USC a two-goal cushion. Freshman Lexi Randazzo played a breaking Thurber, who drove down the left side of the box and past the Clemson defense alone inside the “18” and knocked a shot to the right corner and past Tiger goalkeeper Lauren Johnston.
“We did a great job putting pressure on them,” said Coach Smith. “The midfield worked very hard to not let their midfield get control of the game. It’s something we have lacked in the last couple matches. Putting pressure did not allow them to get in rhythm and play the balls they wanted to.”
Lentz led the Gamecocks with three shots on the night with Thurber and Kirk with two apiece. Clemson outshot Carolina 13-10 with Allison Graham leading the way for the Tigers with five shots. South Carolina freshman goalkeeper Laura Armstrong earned her second win and her second shutout finishing with three saves on the evening.
The Gamecocks are now 15-2 vs. non-conference opponents at home since the 2001 season, Shelley Smith’s first year as head coach of USC. Wednesday’s match also marked the first win over a top ten ranked opponent since 1996’s 3-2 win over the ninth ranked Clemson Tigers.
USC returns to action vs. Charlotte on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. as the Gamecocks play their final non-conference match before the SEC season begins. The match will be broadcast live at www.uscsports.com.