Sept. 24, 2004
AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 28-ranked Auburn soccer team used a stifling defense, and Sarah Steinmann provided all the offense Auburn would need in its 1-0 win over South Carolina here Friday at the AU Soccer Complex. Auburn improves to 6-2-0, 1-0-0 on the year, while South Carolina falls to 6-4-0, 0-1-0 in the teams' Southeastern Conference opener.
"A win is a win in this conference and we are happy to have it," said Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa. "South Carolina plays with so many numbers behind the ball. Steinmann did a great job of playing defense and winning that ball and just put it away."
The Tigers got off to a fast start with seven shots in the first half. Steinmann dribbled in from the outside box at the 29:17 mark in the opening period and knocked the ball past a diving Laura Armstrong to put the Tigers in front of the Gamecocks 1-0. It was Steinmann's fourth goal of the 2004 season.
"This is a great feeling to beat South Carolina after all of the ties," Steinmann said. "I think we were hungry tonight. Megan (Rivera) just keeps playing better and better and made some big saves tonight. All week we have been focused on Friday night so now is time to focus on Florida."
South Carolina out-shot Auburn 4-3 in the second half, but AU goalkeeper Megan Rivera had two strong saves in the second period to preserve the Tigers' third shutout of the season. Rivera needs just one more shutout to break the SEC career record, as the record stands at 29.5 and the Auburn goalkeeper has 28 in her career.
"Megan was outstanding tonight," Hoppa said. "If we are going to be successful in the SEC, Megan needs to make great saves like she did tonight."
Auburn's 1-0 win over South Carolina gives the Auburn seniors their first win over the Gamecocks. AU and USC did not play in 2001, but tied in 2002 and 2003 ( 1-1, 0-0 respectively).
AU continues SEC play Sunday, Sept. 26, when it plays host to No. 4 Florida. The match between the Tigers and Gators is set to begin at 2 p.m. at the AU Soccer Complex. Admission is free to the public.