Auburn fights back to win by penalty kicks
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Auburn (14-4-1) fought back after a two-point deficit to South Carolina (12-4-3) and forced two overtimes and penalty kicks to advance after 5-3 penalty kicks. The Tigers initiated the 2015 Tournament's first overtime, second overtime and penalty kicks.
Anna Conklin scored for the Gamecocks just 20 minutes into the match with an assist by Savannah McCaskill. McCaskill got another assist in the 61st minute as Simone Wark took the ball solo to the goal with a shot to the left side, her third goal of the season.
Auburn answered a minute after their two-point deficit as Kristen Dodson brought South Carolina's lead to one with her fourth goal of the season. In the 76th minute, Tiger Ellie Leek scored her first goal of the season off of an assist by Brooke Ramsier and Logan Beal.
Neither team produced a quality scoring chance in overtime, as the two combined for just four shots in the two 10-minute extra periods.
"Our team has dealt with adversity all year long," Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa said. "South Carolina is a great side. They finished their chances early to go up 2-0, but a credit to our team and its character. They never quit. They fought back and battled together and found a way to survive and advance. When it's tournament time, that's all that matters."
"It was definitely a tough way to finish the tournament," said Gamecock head coach Shelley Smith. "That was quite a battle. Give Auburn credit, they came out and battled and made it tough to play against. We did a good job of weathering the pressure early on, and I thought we handled ourselves well for the majority of the match. We got the second goal, but we let a team back in and that can't happen. It's a tough way to lose, unfortunately it didn't' go our way tonight."
Auburn ended up with 18 shots on the night, eight coming in the first half where the Tigers looked in control from the first whistle. However, South Carolina's was still able to take the early lead on Conklin's goal, forcing the Tigers to play from behind in the second half.
"I thought we played great in the first half," Hoppa said. "It was one of those games again where we didn't have the quality in front of the net and South Carolina scored on a counter so I told them we have to stick to the game plan and do what we can to be better in the final third. The girls took care of business."
Auburn advances to semifinals to play No. 1 Florida on Friday at 3:30 p.m. CT.