South Carolina defeated UNC-Wilmington 2-0 on Friday night at Eugene E. Stone Stadium in the Gamecocks' season opener.
“It feels great to finally get started. We’ve being waiting for this day since the season ended last fall,” coach Shelley Smith said. “The girls have been working so hard for this time and they all came in fit and ready to go and it’s nice to finally put it out there in a meaningful game against a great opponent. It was a good test for us.”
Senior forward Danielle Au struck early for the Gamecocks. In the 10th minute, sophomore Raina Johnson began the buildup to Au’s goal as the midfielder was able to get a short pass off to freshman Chelsea Drennan before being knocked to the ground. The midfielder slotted a through ball into Au, who corralled the ball in the box and hit a quick strike past UNC-Wilmington goalkeeper Lissu Rahkola.
Despite attempts by UNCW to tie up the match, sophomore Stevi Parker put the game away in the 54th minute. With a long ball down the left flank from sophomore Coryn Bajema, Drennan turned and ripped a ball across the face of goal that Parker took and hit a shot to the far post that found the back of the net.
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South Carolina held an 11-9 shot advantage in the game. Freshman Sophie Groff led the Gamecocks with three shots, while Au and junior defender Christa Neary added two apiece.
Junior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo recorded her eighth career shutout, putting her one shutout away from matching Lindsay Thorstenson and Carrie Warner for fourth on the all-time list at South Carolina.