Aug 25, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina women’s soccer team earned its first win since 2010 over a top-10 opponent as they upset No. 7 Duke 1-0 at Stone Stadium behind a first half goal from Danielle Au.
“It’s huge to come here and beat such a tremendous team,” said Head Coach Shelley Smith of the win over Duke. “They’re a great team, they’re going to go far this year, so much talent, but I’m so proud of our girls. They showed that they wanted to win. That was a tough road trip for Duke and we took advantage of having momentum at the start of the game and we kept it going. It was a huge team effort. The seniors down through the freshmen, they all played a huge role in keeping the play up for the entire 90 minutes so credit goes to the entire team.”
The win was South Carolina’s first over a top-10 opponent since defeating No. 10 UNC-Greensboro 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 12, 2010. The last time Carolina downed a top-10 team at home was No. 7 Clemson on Sept. 15, 2004.
The Gamecocks had their first scoring threat of the match in the 11th minute, when sophomore defender Caroline Gray brought the ball out of the midfield to find freshman forward Sophie Groff on the left side. Groff hit a one-time cross into the path of freshman midfielder Chelsea Drennan, but the pass was just out of reach and rolled out of bounds for a goal kick.
Carolina continued to hold possession, and senior forward Danielle Au drew the first Gamecock free kick of the match 25 yards from frame. Senior midfielder Elizabeth Sinclair and Au stood over the ball, with a strike from Au just over the crossbar to hold the contest scoreless with 27 minutes to play in the first half.
D’Angelo was challenged with consecutive saves with under 20 minutes remaining in the half. The first from Duke midfielder Kaitlyn Kerr, before another from forward Kelly Cobb on a free-kick opportunity just outside of the box in the 32nd minute.
D’Angelo saved a sure goal moments later on a header from Blue Devil forward Kim DeCesare. DeCesare hit the attempt to the near post off another Duke free-kick, which D’Angelo blocked before collecting the rebound steps from the end line.
Au tallied her second goal of the season just two minutes later for a 1-0 Carolina lead. Freshman forward Daija Griffin battled a Duke defender for a loose ball and found Au on the left side. The senior forward located Duke goalkeeper Meghan Thomas and hit a well-placed shot to the side of frame for the Gamecock advantage.
Duke defender Lizzy Raben hit an attempt high of the crossbar near the end of the half, but the Gamecocks held a 1-0 advantage entering the locker room for the break.
Both teams had their chances through the first part of the second half. Duke drew a corner kick with 23 minutes remaining in the half after a shot from forward Laura Weinberg, which D’Angelo blocked across the end line.
Griffin hit a shot directly towards Duke goalkeeper Ali Kershner in the 70th minute and the freshman striker placed a through-ball into the six-yard box just beyond the foot of senior midfielder Gabrielle Gilbert moments later, but the contest continued to hold at 1-0 Gamecocks with 15 minutes to play.
The South Carolina defense played stellar in the second half, several times in the later minutes clearing attempts from the Blue Devils. Carolina was called for a foul with one minute remaining in the contest, but the Gamecock defense cleared the ensuing free kick, and Carolina closed the 1-0 victory.
D’Angelo recorded her 9th career shutout to tie for fourth on the all-time list at South Carolina as she tallied four saves on the night.
South Carolina continues non-conference play when it travels to Boston University next Friday for a 7:30 p.m. ET match. Visit GamecocksOnline.com throughout the week for match details.
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).