Young players Daniel, Griffin score in 2-0 exhibition victory
With just under a week between the start of the preseason for USC women’s soccer and its first exhibition game, Coach Shelley Smith liked what she saw from her team in its Aug. 13 contest with the College of Charleston.
“I thought we put a lot together quickly,” Smith said. “It was a great success”
The Gamecocks won their only tune-up game before the start of the season, shutting out CofC 2-0 in three 30-minute periods of exhibition play.
The first goal came in the 42nd minute courtesy of sophomore Bay Daniel, with freshman Daija Griffin netting the insurance goal in minute 55 to secure the win for South Carolina.
Smith said she used USC’s exhibition contest to gauge her team’s depth and get a feel for the young talent on her roster, including Daniel and Griffin.
“We played everybody out of our players that were healthy,” Smith said. “It was a great experience, I think, for the group to get on the field and for us to see everyone play in a game situation.”
Though South Carolina is only lost one of its top 3 goal scorers from last season, Smith hopes that an injection of youth will help bring the Gamecocks back to prominence this year.
Though Daniel and Griffin were the only players to find the back of the net, freshman Iris Dayton and sophomore Raina Johnson both got two shots off in the contest.
“We brought in a really talented freshman class,” Smith said. “I think the freshmen add some attacking personality that we were missing in the fall. … With the combination with the players that are returning, I think we’ll be much more dangerous.”
Just six of USC’s 21 goals last season were recorded by freshmen, a number Smith will look to increase with three new freshmen forwards joining the team this season.
While the young players stole the show in the preseason, senior Abby Sams won a spot on the stat sheet by pushing a through ball to Daniel that would assist the match’s opening goal.
Returning starter Sabrina D’Angelo, a junior, spent all but 75 minutes of the contest in the goal for USC before sophomore keeper Emily Ball took over to close out the match.
The Gamecocks recorded 13 shots in the contest, and the College of Charleston posted nine, with only one — an attempt from Cougar sophomore Michaela Herrmann — landing on target.
Though she has a short preseason to develop a cohesive unit, Smith said she felt the exhibition game showed the team won’t be handicapped as a result.
“In an exhibition, you’re really just trying to put some things together you’ve been working on during the preseason,” Smith said. “It’s a real test of where you are and what you need to do, so it definitely helped us.”