Helverson Propels Minnesota Over No. 24 South Carolina

Go Gophers! Haley Helverson
Go Gophers!
Haley Helverson
Go Gophers!

  1st 2nd OT Final
 South Carolina 1 0 0 1
 Minnesota 1 0 1 2
 2 Stats | Photo Gallery
 
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Aug. 19, 2012

With the clock winding down in overtime, the University of Minnesota capped off the upset over No. 24 South Carolina as freshman Haley Helverson struck home the game-winning goal to give the Golden Gophers their first win of the season. The 2-1 victory in extra time was also head coach Stefanie Golan's first with the Maroon & Gold.

Helverson's game-winner and first career goal was set up by senior Allie Phillips, who worked her way down the right sideline and served a low ball into the box. Standing in the middle was sophomore Taylor Uhl, who passed on the shot and flicked the ball back to the Helverson. The West Des Moines, Iowa native then drove home the winning goal past the South Carolina keeper in the 97th minute of play. Both Uhl and Phillips were credited with an assist.

Uhl was also a catalyst in the first goal for Minnesota as she notched her second of the season in the second minute of the match.

Just minutes after the whistle blew, the Golden Gophers were pressing the Gamecocks. Sophomore Katie Thyken would poke a ball from a USC midfielder and service a through ball to a streaking Uhl. With a defender on her back, Uhl dribbled towards the keeper and tapped the ball in to give Minnesota the early lead.

Dating back to last season, Uhl has scored a goal in six-straight matches, which ties Jennifer McElmury's record set in 1997. She also ties the point streak record of seven consecutive matches.

The Gophers would control possession most of the first half while also generating a number of scoring opportunities. Two of the closest chances were by sophomore Taylor Wodnick, who skimmed the top of the crossbar, and Tamara Strahota, who had a free kick from about 35 yards away batted over the goal.

With seconds remaining in the first half, it seemed that the Gophers would head to the locker room with a 1-0 lead, but South Carolina had one last surge.

Forward Rae Wilson slipped a through ball to Lani Smith, who roped a ball towards Cat Parkhill. The ball would ricochet off Parkhill's hand and dribble towards the goal. The Apple Valley, Minn. quickly scurried to save the ball, but with one second remaining on the clock, it had inched past the goal line to even the match, 1-1.

The score for South Carolina would be their lone shot in the first half while the Gophers tallied six.

In the second half, play seemed to even out as each team generated opportunities. The Gamecocks, who substituted 15 times in the second period, recorded five shots to Minnesota's three.

The best scoring opportunity for the Maroon & Gold was in the 63rd minute when Helverson sliced a ball towards the goal but had it knocked away by USC's goalkeeper Darien Vercillo. South Carolina would control the rebound, but the clearance would end up bouncing off the inside of the post and nearly giving the Gophers a 2-1 advantage.

The two would remain scoreless for the second half to force a grueling overtime period.

With both teams having played a game on Friday night, each team showcased fatigue, but Minnesota's motor kept running as they controlled play.

Just minutes before Helverson's game-winning goal, Uhl chipped a ball towards goal but had it deflected by a Gamecock defender. Uhl would protest a handball in the box, but the referee would not make the questionable call, which would have resulted in a penalty shot for the Gophers.

Sunday afternoon's win improves the Gophers to 2-0 against South Carolina with both triumphs coming when the Gamecocks were ranked nationally in the Top 25. The last time was in 2010 when USC was 20th in the polls.

The Golden Gophers hit the road this week as they travel to California for a pair of matches. The first is Friday, August 24 against San Diego followed by a Sunday afternoon match on August 26 against Southern Cal (USC).