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Oct. 6, 2013

Final Stats

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Raina Johnson

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – In their second overtime game in three days, No. 19 South Carolina (11-1-1, 4-1-0) pulled off another overtime win, this time knocking off Tennessee (7-4-2, 2-2-1) at Regal Stadium behind sophomore midfielder Raina Johnson’s goal in the 93rd minute.

At the 2:20 mark in the first overtime, Johnson received a pass down the right flank from senior captain Elizabeth Sinclair. The sophomore got past her mark and hit a low shot to the far post past Tennessee keeper Julie Eckel.

“I think it shows the heart and determination we have,” said South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith of winning another overtime game. “We’re a fit team. It’s difficult to come and play two difficult teams on the road. It’s difficult to win away on the road in the SEC so to get those six points is huge. I told the players that we were very proud of their effort. They dug deep and never gave up; a lot of heart all weekend. They never doubted themselves and that will go a long way this season and it already has.”

South Carolina freshman midfielder Chelsea Drennan had the Gamecocks first shot of the game in the seventh minute when she put a header on frame. Just over two minutes later, senior striker Danielle Au had Carolina’s best opportunity of the half when junior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo’s free kick from midfield eventually dropped to Au 12 yards out where she ripped a shot just wide of the right post.

Tennessee struck with a counter attack in the 23rd minute. Striker Hannah Wilkinson dribbled into the box and struck the ball form 12 yards out, but D’Angelo was there for the stop.

After holding a 4-1 shot edge at the end of the first 45 minutes, the Gamecocks picked up their pressure in the second half and spent much of the second half in Tennessee’s end, recording nine shots and multiple goal scoring opportunities.

A golden opportunity came in the 60th minute, but was denied by a Tennessee defender as Daija Griffin’s cross was just over the reach of Eckel. The ball dropped on the far side to Johnson on the left side of the box. The sophomore hit a low shot to the center of the open net, but Tennessee’s Megan Erskine slid in and knocked the ball away just as it was about to cross the goal line.

Six minutes later, Drennan dribbled into a congested back and slotted the ball to the left side to an open Bay Daniel. The sophomore forward hit a strike toward the left post, but Eckel was there for the save.

Late in the match, sophomore defender Carly Ray set up a pair of scoring chances in the 77th and 80th minutes with deep throw-ins into the box. Daniel collected the first at the six, turned and hit a shot that Eckel was able to get in front of to make the stop. Drennan got on the end of the other, flicking a header on goal to force Eckel to go down and make the save.

After a long free kick into the box with just over five minutes remaining, the ball eventually dropped to Wilkinson on the right side. Right as she struck the ball, Sinclair stepped in and blocked the attempt.

Neither side was able to break the deadlock in regulation, but it didn’t take long for the game to end as Johnson scored the game-winner on the team’s 14th shot of the game and first of the overtime period. Tennessee only managed four shots against a stingy Gamecock defense, with only two being on target compared to Carolina seven.

The Gamecocks will be back home next weekend as they host Alabama on Oct. 11. Kickoff is slated or 7 p.m. ET at Stone Stadium