Aug 23, 2013
COLUMBIA. S.C. – It didn’t take long for the South Carolina women’s soccer team to get the 2013 season started as senior forward Danielle Au struck early as the Gamecocks defeated UNC-Wilmington 2-0 tonight at Eugene E. Stone Stadium in the season opener.
“It feels great to finally get started, we’ve being waiting for this day since the season ended last fall,” Head Coach Shelley Smith said. “The girls have been working so hard for this time and they all came in fit and ready to go and it’s nice to finally put it out there in a meaningful game against a great opponent. It was a good test for us.”
In the 10th minute, sophomore Raina Johnson began the buildup to Au’s goal as the midfielder was able to get a short pass off to freshman Chelsea Drennan before being knocked to the ground. The midfielder slotted a through ball into Au who corralled the ball in the box and hit a quick strike past UNC-Wilmington goalkeeper Lissu Rahkola.
Freshman forward Sophie Groff nearly doubled the lead 10 minutes later as she found space in the box for an open header, but the attempt sailed wide.
The Gamecocks averted danger in the 36th minute as junior defender Christa Neary came up with a key slide tackle on a Seahawk attacker who was all alone 10 yards from goal. Neary managed to get enough of the ball leaving Gamecock junior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo an easy opportunity to pick up the ball.
With the shot total tied at four apiece at the half, the Garnet and Black had the momentum, but the Seahawks came out the aggressor with early long range shots, but none troubled D’Angelo.
Despite the attempts by UNCW to tie up the match, sophomore Stevi Parker put the game away in the 54th minute. With a flicked ball down the left flank to sophomore Coryn Bajema from Drennan, the sophomore ripped a ball across the face of goal that Parker took and hit a shot to the far post that found the back of the net.
South Carolina held an 11-9 shot advantage in at the game. Freshman Sophie Groff led the Gamecocks with three shots while Au and Neary added two apiece. D’Angelo recorded her eighth career shutout putting her one shutout away from matching Lindsay Thorstenson and Carrie Warner for fourth on the all-time list at South Carolina.
Season tickets for women’s soccer, which includes admission to all home games, are currently on sale in the Gamecock Ticket Office. Fans can purchase tickets online at GamecocksOnline.com, or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS. Cost for season tickets for men’s soccer is $25 for adults and $10 for youth (17 and under).