In the 103rd minute, South Carolina senior defender Anna Patten took a penalty kick, scoring to give South Carolina a 2-1 win in double overtime Sunday in Nashville.
The win gives South Carolina (3-1-0) nine points, one clear of second-place Georgia (2-0-2), who drew with Kentucky Sunday afternoon. The lone Gamecock loss was a one-goal defeat to the Bulldogs in the first game of the year.
"Proud of the team to hang in there and battle and find a way to win," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said in a press release. "Two unfortunate goals for each side, but you have to put yourself in dangerous positions to create those opportunities. We are glad to be on the winning end of the match today and were really happy with the team effort overall."
The teams played to a 0-0 draw in the first 45 minutes. South Carolina had a 6-5 lead in shots at the break.
The biggest first-half development was that senior defensive back Sarah Eskew was injured in the 36th minute and did not return. Freshman Hallie Meadows, who missed last week and did not start this week with an injury, came in. Sutton Jones, who played center back for Meadows last week and started there again Sunday, moved outside for Eskew.
The opening goal of the match came in the 49th minute from senior forward Ryan Gareis. Lauren Chang sent Gareis in behind the Commodores defense, and Gareis fired her first touch low and to the back post just beyond the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Sarah Fuller.
In the 75th minute, Vanderbilt tied the game and, 15 minutes later, the teams went to overtime for the fifth time in their last seven meetings.
In the first overtime, Gareis saw Fuller off her line and attempted a chip shot, but Fuller got her hand on it to keep the game going.
The Gamecocks travel to Arkansas on Friday for an 8 p.m. kickoff against No. 3 Arkansas, a rematch of last season’s SEC championship game. With a win over the Razorbacks, South Carolina would be at least tied for first overall in the SEC.