Sept. 14, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – Sophomore Claire Studebaker and freshman Savannah McCaskill recorded the first goals of their Gamecock careers to lead No. 16 South Carolina (7-1-0) to a 2-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast University (4-3-0). The final non-conference match of the Gamecocks’ season was played at the University of South Florida’s Corbett Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Gamecocks were aggressive early, recording a pair of shots in the first two minutes. When a shot from freshman Savannah McCaskill lead to a corner kick, sophomore Chelsea Drennan and senior Taylor Leach connected. Leach’s header went high though. After the early action, the teams settled into the match.
FGCU had the ball in its attacking third for a few stretches in the first half, but couldn’t generate many chances as the teams played through the muggy weather.
Ali Rogers took a shot on target for the Eagles after FGCU drove the ball deep and sent a cross back into the box. Senior keeper Sabrina D’Angelo was there for the save to keep the contest scoreless.
After a foul on FGCU inside the last minute of the half, D’Angelo came up to midfield to take the free kick and sent the ball in the box. After ricocheting around with a few touches inside the six-yard box, the Eagle keeper Brittany Brown misplayed the ball, and Studebaker sent it into the net for the score. It was the first goal of her South Carolina career.
The first opportunity of the second half came early. After a throw in, senior Christa Neary hit a streaking Sophie Groff with a cross, but the sophomore couldn’t get enough handle on the ball to dump it in the net.
Redshirt freshman Lindsey Lane found McCaskill who sent a beautiful ball over Groff in the 55th minute. Groff sent the shot towards the far post, but was just wide.
Just 27 seconds after checking back into the match, McCaskill recorded the first goal of her career. Groff sent a cross from the endline into the box where the freshman was waiting to power the ball past the Eagle keeper for the final 2-0 edge as the Gamecocks did not allow a shot in the second half.
After a mostly quiet half for both teams, sophomore Claire Studebaker sent a header to the back of the net for a 1-0 lead with just 28 seconds left in the first half.
The Gamecocks did not allow a shot in the second half and recorded their seventh shutout of the season.
- Both sophomore Claire Studebaker and freshman Savannah McCaskill tallied the first goals of their careers in the contest.
- Sophomore Sophie Groff notched the second assist of her career on McCaskill’s goal.
- The Gamecocks finish non-conference play with a 7-1-0 record.
- After a pair of shutout wins in Tampa this weekend, South Carolina is 3-0 on the road this season.
- With non-conference play behind them, the Gamecocks have allowed just one goal. It’s the second-straight season South Carolina has gone through conference play allowing just one goal.
- Senior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo recorded her seventh shutout of the season 26th career shutout, just five away from the program record of 31 held by Mollie Patton.
South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith
We knew it was going to be difficult after playing a tough game Friday night, and then turning around and playing a team that an extra day of rest. We know how Friday-Sunday weekends feel, but we didn’t talk about that as a disadvantage, and our players handled it well. We were able to use a lot of our bench, and they came up huge for us. Players came in and lifted us; they held the ball. We possessed and it made it a lot less work for us. We need to continue to do that, and I thought we did a better job of that in the second half. Overall, I thought it was a great performance. It was a tough weekend to come down here in the heat and to be on the road. I’m really proud of our girls for coming in and getting another shutout.
The Gamecocks open SEC play at 1 p.m. ET, on Sun., Sept. 21. The match vs. Auburn will be South Carolina’s debut on the SEC Network.