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Sep 6, 2013

Final Stats

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Daija Griffin and Raina Johnson

CLEMSON, S.C. – In a game that sprung to life halfway through the second half after physical play throughout, the South Carolina women’s soccer team walked out of Riggs Field with a 2-1 victory behind goals from freshman forward Daija Griffin and sophomore midfielder Raina Johnson.

“It’s going to be a battle anytime you go up to Clemson. With the rivalry match you’re going to have a fight,” Head Coach Shelley Smith said. “It was a battle between two good teams and luckily we came out on top. I think in the second half we got the better of play once we settled down. We were able to win the 50-50 balls and once we did that we opened things up and gave ourselves more chances.”

Right out of the gates, it proved to be a very physical game. The eighth minute saw Gamecock redshirt junior defender Taylor Leach get tangled up with Clemson forward Paige Reckert in front of the Tiger bench that led to both players receiving yellow cards.

The physical play continued throughout the half as the teams left for the locker rooms at the half with 15 total fouls. In all, the teams combined for the 26 fouls, 13 apiece.

After a dangerous cross on in free kick from Christa Neary in the 60th minute, the junior defender whipped a cross in again from 25 yards out that led to the game’s opening goal. The cross led to a shot by sophomore midfielder Stevi Parker which was saved by Clemson keeper Kailen Sheridan. Leach got onto the rebound and put a shot on from the top of the six that was saved by a Tiger defender before Griffin punched home the loose ball.

Just over five minutes later Johnson doubled the lead by tallying her second goal of the season as fellow sophomore Caroline Gray sent a deep left to right cross into the box that was flicked on to Johnson by senior forward Danielle Au. Johnson went low across the face of the goal with the shot and found the inside of the far post.

The Tigers nearly cut into the lead in the 80th minute, but junior defender Andie Romness threw herself in front a close-range shot from midfielder Allie Kington.

Forward Tabitha Padgett though struck a minute later to cut South Carolina’s lead in half. After Kington’s shot from inside the box was blocked, Padgett scored on the rebound to end South Carolina’s 460-minute shutout streak.

With under three minutes remaining, Padgett beat her defender and went one-on-one with Gamecock keeper Sabrina D’Angelo. The junior darted out of the six-yard box and made a sliding stop on the Tiger attacker to preserve the win.

South Carolina went on to hold a 5-4 edge in shots on goal as D’Angelo came up with a pair of saves. Redshirt senior Christine Watts also came up with a key save in the first half as she stopped a certain goal off a header from Tiger defender Claire Wagner.

The Gamecocks return to Stone Stadium on Sunday as they host SMU at 1 p.m.

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, or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS. Cost for season tickets for women’s soccer is $25 for adults and $10 for youth (17 and under).