GWINNETT GRADS: Au, Gamecocks off to hot start

A Gwinnett connection last weekend continued the impressive start by the South Carolina women’s soccer team.

The 20th-ranked Gamecocks defeated No. 22 Wake Forest 1-0 when Buford’s Maria Petroni set up freshman Danielle Au of North Gwinnett for the game’s only goal. Petroni played a nice pass back to Au, who blasted a 30-yard shot for the goal.

It was the second game-winner of the season for Au, last week’s SEC freshman of the week.

“Danielle is a difference,” South Carolina coach Shelley Smith said after the win. “For her to come in and score again for us, to take the shot and put it on her shoulders says a lot. I’m happy for her and for her to finish. That was a great strike. She’s not afraid to use her left foot when given the opportunity and it paid off. It takes a good shot like that to beat a good team and a good goalkeeper.”

Au, on the heels of leading North to the Class AAAAA state title in the spring, has started all nine games for the 6-2-1 Gamecocks. Petroni and Peachtree Ridge grad Christine Watts also have started every game.


Quick kicks

Greater Atlanta Christian grad Samantha Abrahart scored two more goals last weekend, powering North Georgia to a 4-0 victory over Montevallo. She now has a team-high seven goals this season. North Georgia goalkeeper Jessica English, a Brookwood grad, made six saves in the shutout of Montevallo. ... GAC’s Chris Thomas, who leads Elon with four goals, scored the game-winner less than three minutes in last Friday for the program’s first win over Old Dominion in six tries. He then scored the game-tying goal on Sunday in a 2-2 draw with Coastal Carolina.


Simmons earns ACC honor

Clemson’s Moneshia Simmons, a Mill Creek grad, was named ACC freshman of the week on Monday after leading the Tigers to the championship at the Clemson Classic.

Simmons had a tourney-best .442 hitting percentage, accounting for 2.0 kills and 2.0 digs per set. She also led the tourney with four aces and had a career-best 10 kills vs. Georgia State.

She ranks among Clemson’s season leaders in kills per set (1.88, fourth), digs per set (2.31, third), blocks per set (0.90, third) and aces (nine).


Quick hits

West Georgia is off to a 2-1 start, with Central Gwinnett grad Yusuf Holloway as the leading rusher (32-144, TD) and second-leading receiver (12-87). Grayson’s Randy Sides also is the starting tight end, rover Manny Rodriguez of Central Gwinnett is fourth on the team with 24 tackles and defensive end Brandon McEachern of Buford has 14 stops. ... Norcross’ Dion DuBose has 14 tackles, 3.5 tackles for losses, two sacks and a forced fumble for 2-1 Georgia Southern.

Army, which features the Brookwood trio of Josh Jackson and Jarrett and A.J. Mackey, is off to a 2-1 start. Jackson has 10 tackles and a fumble recovery and Jarrett Mackey has nine tackles, one for a loss, one sack and a forced fumble. ... Vanderbilt freshman Jonathan Krause, a South Gwinnett grad, has five catches for 77 yards. Teammate and Duluth grad Kennard Reeves had two carries for 11 yards in last week’s win over Ole Miss.

Samford linebacker Bryce Smith had 15 tackles (13 solos) in last week’s win over Newberry. The Central Gwinnett grad has a team-high 33 tackles (27 solos) for the 2-1 Bulldogs. ... North Gwinnett’s Jon Gibson-Green, a true freshman at Carson-Newman, has four tackles, a forced fumble and a QB hurry this season. ... Elon’s Juan Burnett, a freshman from Peachtree Ridge has five tackles.

Auburn’s Jessel Curry, a Buford grad, has seen some passing down action and work in the Tigers’ blitz packages as a freshman. He has five tackles and a QB hurry. ... Lenoir-Rhyne freshman Ricky Fawbush of Mill Creek has nine solo tackles this season and also has two kickoff returns for 27 yards.


Shida gets Peach Belt nod

Georgia College and State University golfer Billy Shida was named the Peach Belt Conference golfer of the week after a runner-up finish at the Spring Hill Suites Intercollegiate in Florence, S.C.

The senior shot 70, 68 and 70 to finish at 8-under-par 208, a shot behind the individual champion. His effort helped the Bobcats to the team title.

Shida also finished at even par in GCSU’s other fall tourney, the Kiawah Island Invitational.


Mattix, Destiche shine at Mercer

GCSU runners and Gwinnett grads Tyler Mattix and Dani Destiche each stood out at last weekend’s Mercer RunFit Sports Invitational.

Mattix, a Shiloh grad, was eighth in the men’s 8K race in 28 minutes, 7 seconds and Destiche, a Brookwood grad, was ninth in the women’s 5K in 20:40.

The GCSU men also got good runs from Brookwood’s Zack Robinson (12th, 28:21), Collins Hill’s Rob Manning (14th, 28:23) and Mill Creek’s Colin Conroy (16th, 28:29). Brookwood’s Andrea Byrnes was 17th (21:16) for the GCSU women.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.