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Nov. 12, 2010

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By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 20 South Carolina advances to the NCAA Second Round for the second consecutive year after defeating No. 10 UNC Greensboro 2-1 Friday night at Klockner Stadium on the campus of the University of Virginia. The Gamecocks (15-5-4) went ahead just 2:15 into the match by an own goal, and freshman Danielle Au hit the game-winner just 58 seconds into the second half.

The Spartans (19-2-1) entered the match riding a 16-match winning streak and a No. 10 ranking in the nation. With the victory, South Carolina improves to 3-1 in the all-time series and knock off their first top ten team since defeating then No. 8 Florida by a 1-0 score in last year’s SEC Tournament semifinal.

“We’re happy to advance in the NCAA tournament,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “We know we need to be better Sunday. It wasn’t our bet performance but I’m proud of the way our team found a way to win. They’ve been able to do that consistently throughout the season, and we know we can bounce back and give a top performance on Sunday.”

In an opposite tread of last week’s SEC title match that saw Carolina lose on an own goal, the Gamecocks went ahead just 2:15 into the match courtesy of a Spartan own goal. Playing wide on the wing, Kira Campbell dumped it to Christine Watts who sent a cross square in front of the keeper and going just over Maria Petroni’s head. Before a Gamecock could follow-up, a Spartan defender knocked the ball backwards and it rolled into the net for the early Gamecock score.

Danielle Au made the lead 2-0 just 58 seconds into the second half with a rifled shot from 18 yards that curled into the upper corner of the net. The score was the fifth of the year for Au and her first since the Kentucky win on Sept. 26, 2010.

The Gamecocks came out firing in the second half with an offensive presence that kept the Spartans on their heels. Au was able to put Carolina ahead 2-0 with her goal just 58 seconds into the half after the Gamecocks played with the defense with six players getting touches around the ’18 before Au split two defenders and took her shot.

Minutes later, Kayla Grimsley nearly tallied her 13th goal of the season after beating her defender for a 1v1 opportunity with the keeper, but the netminder was able to get her fingertips on the shot to force a corner kick. UNC Greensboro didn’t start getting possessions until the Gamecocks were slowed with three offside calls in the opening 25 minutes of the second half. Mollie Patton was forced to make a diving save on a shot in the 60th that led to a Spartan corner kick, but the Gamecocks used a bad service to drive down for what seemed a 3-0 lead before Petroni’s goal was nullified due to an offside call.

The Spartans were able to get on the board at 74:43 with a rebounded shot off a failed clearance. The build-up began second earlier when First Team All-SEC defender Brittiny Rhoades was whistled for a yellow card 30 yards out on the right flank. UNC Greensboro took the free kick and sent it into the penalty area, and Kristen Schmidbauer took advantage of a failed Gamecock clearance to send the score to 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining.

No. 20 South Carolina will face No. 8 Virginia Sunday at 2 p.m. in the NCAA Second Round. The match is just the second ever between the Gamecocks and Cavaliers, who advanced with a 3-0 victory against Lehigh.