Sept. 23, 2011
By Miquel Jacobs
Assistant Media Relations Director
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina senior Kortney Rhoades had her first career multi-goal game to lead the Gamecocks to a 2-1 double-overtime victory at No. 11 Tennessee in front of the second-largest crowd in Regal Stadium history. With the win, South Carolina improves to 7-3-0 and 1-0-0 in the SEC while Tennessee falls to 7-2-0, 0-1-0 in the SEC opener for both teams.
Rhoades scored the game-winning goal at 105:34 courtesy of an assist by Kayla Grimsley, giving Grimsley sole possession of first in the Gamecock career record book for assists at 25. Rhoades also scored in the 16th before Tennessee’s Carolina Brown equalized in the 54th.
It was the second largest crowd ever in Knoxville at 2,846 fans in another classic derby between the SEC East rivals. South Carolina has won the last five games between the teams, and the last four games have been won by a 2-1 margin. The game marked the third overtime match of the season for the Gamecocks, and Shelley Smith’s team has won all three of them with golden goals. The Gamecocks are now unbeaten in their last 10 overtime matches.
“Tonight was a good test for this team,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “They’ve learned from the non-conference season and have been prepared to battle on the road. To find a way to win against a very good Tennessee team is a great step for us.”
Freshman Sabrina D’Angelo registered five saves in the match, including four from point-blank range in the second half to keep the game scoreless.
Rhoades put South Carolina ahead just 15:32 into the match with a volley into the net from 12 yards that struck past Tennessee’s Julie Eckel for the 1-0 lead. The score was assisted by Maria Petroni and ended Eckel’s school-record shutout streak of 471:10 that spanned six Tennessee games.
The Gamecocks continued to dominate the opening half of play. Petroni fought for her own look on goal with a 1v1 opportunity that was saved by Eckel, and Rhoades tried to double her tally with a shot off a corner kick that was also saved. The teams went into the break even in shots at nine, giving the Gamecocks their per game average (9.55) through 45 minutes of play.
Tennessee came out swinging at the start of the second period when Emily Dowd found herself behind the Gamecock backline for a breakaway. D’Angelo came off her line and deflected the shot from 15 yards, causing the ball to roll slowly towards the open net before Christa Neary cleared it off the line to end the threat.
Brown equalized for the Lady Vols at 53:16 when she volleyed in a ball from eight yards on the third ball in a row sent into the box by Chelsea Hatcher. The Gamecocks nearly retaliated with a quick goal on the next possession, but Rhoades’s shot slid wide left of the goal.
The Lady Vols countered on another South Carolina corner kick in the 60th with Emily Dowd earning a breakaway on goal, but D’Angelo again made the save for the bail out. Danielle Au had the best look of the half for South Carolina with a strike from 25 yards out that struck the crossbar in the 70th minute.
Both teams had a final look leading into the end of regulation with D’Angelo saving a rifle from inside the ’18 and Ariane Lukens nearly scoring on a running header for South Carolina with two minutes remaining. The high shooting affair went into extra time with a combined 39 shots.
Neither team had a strong look on goal in the first overtime period, but Grimsley put one on frame just two minutes into the second overtime, but the blast off a free kick was saved by Eckel.
South Carolina travels to Athens, Ga., for a Sunday fixture against the Georgia Bulldogs. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Georgia Soccer Complex.