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    SEC Soccer Tournament: Opening Night

    2012 SEC Soccer Tournament * Orange Beach, Ala.
    Monday, October 29, 2012
    Match 1 * Recap

    No. 10 South Carolina 3, No. 7 Arkansas 2 (OT)

    By: Sean Cartell
    Twitter: @SEC_Sean
    SEC Digital Network

    ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (Oct. 29, 2012) – Youth may have been the reason behind some of South Carolina’s growing pains throughout the 2012 season but, on Monday, the team’s freshmen were the key to the 10th-seeded Gamecocks’ 3-2 victory against seventh-seeded Arkansas in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.

    “Obviously, we’re thrilled to get a win,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “We came here and didn’t want to go home yet. We’ve been here and we know how enjoyable the tournament is, the excitement of trying to win a championship. We knew it was going to be a challenge for us and we are thrilled to get through the first round.”

    Freshman midfielder Stevi Parker’s goal in the 94th minute, which came off a cross from rookie defender Caroline Gray, broke a 2-2 tie and lifted the Gamecocks (7-9-4) to the overtime win.

    “We thought we had chances on our set pieces against them and corners,” Smith said. “Caroline [Gray] got the ball freshman-to-freshman and Stevi [Parker] put that ball in the net. We told them that they have to be able to put themselves out there and leave it all on the field. Stevi came up with a huge goal for us.”

    South Carolina advances to Wednesday’s quarterfinal match to face second-seeded Texas A&M. Kick-off for that match is slated for 12 p.m. CT.

    The Gamecocks got on the board first thanks to an unassisted goal by Danielle Au at the 40:19 mark of the opening half. Arkansas provided an equalizer with 21:40 left in the first half when Ashleigh Ellenwood took a pass from Allie Chandler, dribbled to the goal, pulled the keeper away from her post and drilled a shot to the back corner of the net.

    Freshman Courtney Angotti-Smith put South Carolina in front in the 44th minute to give the Gamecocks a 2-1 advantage heading into the locker room at intermission. Arkansas’ Chandler found the back of the goal from 30 yards out in the 74th minute to again tie the score, this time at 2-2.

    The Gamecocks on Monday won an overtime match for the first time in seven total tries this season.

    South Carolina, which has advanced to seven consecutive SEC Tournaments, is looking to make its fifth appearance in the event’s semifinals in the past seven seasons.

    Arkansas, under the direction of first-year head coach Colby Hale, finishes the season 9-10-1.

    “It was a great game,” Hale said. “We never love giving up three goals, but we came back twice down. This team has kind of done it all year. We love their fight. We said ‘There’s only one team in the country that wins their last game, unfortunately,’ so you always kind of end on this note, but if we look back at this year, we exceeded everyone’s expectations. We had a ton of firsts for this program and we just told them we’re proud of them.”


    2012 SEC Soccer Tournament * Orange Beach, Ala.
    Monday, October 29, 2012
    Match 2 * Recap

    No. 9 Ole Miss 1, No. 8 LSU 0

    By: Sean Cartell
    Twitter: @SEC_Sean
    SEC Digital Network

    ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (Oct. 29, 2012) – Ole Miss junior Rafaelle Souza’s goal in the final minute broke a scoreless tie in a physical, intense game to lead the ninth-seeded Rebels over eighth-seeded LSU 1-0 on Monday at the 2012 Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.

    “It’s a great win for us,” Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott said. “LSU is a great opponent and they do a great job; they’re hard to break down. It felt like we were getting close but we couldn’t find that goal and Rafaelle [Souza] just had a second of brilliance. It was a great finish and we’ll take it for sure.”

    Souza took a pass from teammate Jessica Hiskey at the top of the 18-yard box and drilled a shot deep into the goal to lift her team to its first victory at the SEC Soccer Tournament since the 2004 event.

    “I feel so good,” Souza said. “I think we did a good job; we worked hard and we deserve the win. Ole Miss can be very proud of us; we are doing a good job. I think we can do very well in this postseason.”

    Ole Miss (13-8) advances to play top-seeded Florida (14-4-1) in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT.

    Ole Miss controlled the total shots 18-10, including a 9-3 advantage in the opening period and Mott encouraged his team at intermission to keep pressing in the second half.

    “I just think us staying with it [helped Ole Miss get the win],” Mott said. “We moved the ball well, we got in dangerous spots, we kept trying to get in dangerous spots and we thought we could get one.”

    LSU concludes its 2012 season with a 9-8-4 overall record.

    “They’re a good team that passes the ball and Matt’s [Mott] a good coach,” LSU head coach Brian Lee said. “Really, for the run of it, I thought it was one of our better performances of the year, certainly in large, large spells. The game was a big game of runs and momentum; we’d have 20 minutes and they’d have 20 minutes. There at the end, it really came down to we had a chance to score and we didn’t hit it right, and they sprung out on the other end and finished a good one.”