Nov. 15, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina women’s soccer team (17-3-2) earned a 5-0 victory over Furman (17-4-2) in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament on Friday night at Stone Stadium. Redshirt-junior midfielder Taylor Leach scored the game winner in the 15th minute and junior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo secured the 12th shutout of the season for Carolina in the victory. South Carolina’s 11-0 record at Stone Stadium this season is currently the best home record in school history.
South Carolina advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time overall, having advanced through the opening round in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons previously. The win improves the Gamecocks’ record in NCAA Tournament play to 5-5-1 overall, including a 4-1 record in games played at Stone Stadium, with all four of those wins coming as shutouts.
Freshman midfielder Chelsea Drennan collected two assists on the night, moving her into second all-time in the Carolina record book for assists in a season with 12. She also holds the record for single-season game-winning assists with six in 2013. Senior forward Danielle Au also collected two assists in the match, and she is now tied for seventh in the record book in career assists with 13.
Furman’s India Robinson sent a hard shot wide of frame in the fifth minute, but D’Angelo was there to hold the ball from crossing the endline. The teams traded possession through the midfield until the Gamecocks marked the scoreboard in the 15th minute on Leach’s eventual game winner.
Drennan stepped to the corner flag and sent a long cross to the far post from the right side, which senior midfielder Gabrielle Gilbert flicked to Leach, who headed towards goal. The ball deflected off a Furman defender before finding the back of the net for the early Gamecock lead.
Furman would threaten in the 17th minute when forward Jamie Alexander hit the crossbar with a strong attempt, but Carolina added to its lead just two minutes later.
Sophomore forward Raina Johnsonscored her team-leading 10th goal of the year to push the Carolina lead to 2-0 in the 19th minute. D’Angelo collected her second-career assist with a long ball out of the defensive third, which Au continued forward into the path of Johnson. Battling a Furman defender, Johnson found the ball near ground level and hit a one-time volley past the Paladin goalkeeper for the score.
South Carolina once again added to its lead less than 10 minutes later. On another corner from Drennan, freshman forward Daija Griffin and senior midfielder Liz Sinclair connected for assists before sophomore forward Coryn Bajema found the back of the net with a header to the far post past Hull.
Furman struggled to find a rhythm after the early goals, and the Gamecocks continued to hold the majority of possession.
Bajema found the back of the net again for her third goal of the season in the 34th minute. Drennan collected her second helper of the match, finding Bajema on the left side of the 18-yard box. The striker located Hull and sent a well-placed shot low to the far post for a 4-0 Gamecock lead.
Sophomore midfielder Stevie Parker nearly gave the Gamecocks another goal in the 44th minute on a strike that hit the crossbar, but the score held at 4-0 entering the halftime break.
South Carolina threatened early in the second half on an attempt from Au. The senior striker found an open slot 10 yards from frame, looking for the near post, but the Paladin goalkeeper forced the ball over the endline for the Gamecock corner kick.
Au collected her second assist of the night and her fourth of the season on Carolina’s fifth tally of the match in the 62nd minute. Au found Sophie Groff in front of frame, and the freshman forward’s attempt hit the near side goal post before crossing the goal line for the final Gamecock score of the match.
South Carolina dominated the remainder of the match and D’Angelo collected her SEC leading 12th shutout of the season.
South Carolina will next face Stanford on Nov. 22 at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.