Sept. 30, 2012
NASHVILLE – Junior Gabrielle Gilbert scored her first goal of the season as South Carolina and Vanderbilt played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw Sunday afternoon at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. The Gamecocks move to 3-5-4 (0-3-3 SEC) on the year while Vanderbilt’s record goes to 4-4-5 (1-1-4 SEC).
The match was the third draw in five tries in Nashville with the Gamecocks and Commodores tying in 2004 and 2010 before Sunday’s 1-1 final. It was the sixth overtime match through 12 games in the 2012 season, matching a program record for most extra time games in a season.
The Gamecock backline of Christa Neary, Andie Romness, Dani Henry and Taylor Leach limited the Commodores to only five shots in the game and one shot on goal in 110 minutes of action. South Carolina ended the game with an 18-5 advantage in shots, 9-1 advantage in shots on goal and 8-3 advantage in corner kicks.
“I’m proud of them and at the same time I feel badly because they deserved a result today,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “They came back from a game that they were truly disappointed in Friday nigh and really brought everything out here. We played probably our best game of the season as far as consistent performance, and they battled to give themselves good chances. Somehow we give up one goal and it’s truly disappointing but it’s a step in the right direction for us. The effort was there. We’re very proud and we’ll take this and move forward. It’s not what we want, but it’s a positive with how we were able to move forward from a disappointing Friday night.”
Gilbert scored her first goal of the season at 12:27 on a header off a corner kick, and Vanderbilt’s Brittney Thomas equalized in the 84th minute to cap the scoring.
“I give them a lot of credit to continue to play and to give themselves chances to win,” Smith said. “To give up a goal in the last few minutes of a game, it can knock teams down and turn momentum. They didn’t let that happen. They came back out and gave themselves a chance to win in overtime. I’m proud of the way we left everything on the field.”
With three goals in the past two matches, Danielle Au had the first look on frame in the 11th with a perfectly placed shot from range that forced a diving save by Vanderbilt goalkeeper Alexa Levick for a corner kick. Christa Neary’s header off the first attempt went wide of the frame, but the Gamecocks would eventually get the score at 12:27 when Gilbert headed in Andie Romness’s set piece to break open the game.
The score was the third consecutive South Carolina goal from a corner kick after both scores in Friday’s match at Auburn were also scored from Romness corners. Gilbert’s header also continued her trend of scoring goals in matches televised by CSS after knocking home the game-winning header in South Carolina’s last appearance on the network in 2011. The junior has thrived in the spotlight with six of her career 15 points coming in televised matches.
Despite playing a grueling 90 minute match at Auburn Friday night, the Gamecocks did not make their first substitution until Raina Johnson entered the match in the 35th minute, and the freshman nearly was the catalyst for a second goal with a service that Coryn Bajema tagged in front of the net for a shot that Levick saved. The Gamecocks ended the first half with a commanding 9-1 edge in shots and 6-2 advantage in corner kicks.
With only one change at the break, the Gamecocks continued to play a possession games against the Commodores and had the first shot of the half with a Caroline Gray attempt that went wide of the net. Gilbert found a look in the 56th that rolled towards Levick after a touch by a defender prevented a chance of her second goal of the day. Bajema made her attempt at adding to the score in the 78th with a header within six yards that the goalkeeper was able to grab.
The Commodores would end up being the team to add the late tally with Brittney Thomas equalizing in the 84th minute to send the game to overtime. In extra time, the Gamecocks nearly ended it in the 99th minute with a shot by Caroline Gray that hit the crossbar and bounced up and down before Bajema put a head on it that Levick was able to save.
South Carolina pushed hard, early and often in the second overtime for the golden goal with Christa Neary’s free kick in the 102nd tip-saved over the bar by Levick and Danielle Au’s attempt in the box also saved.
South Carolina returns home next weekend when SEC east rivals Georgia and Tennessee make trips to Stone Stadium.