Sept. 19, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Four separate Gamecocks scored in the first half to lead No. 20 South Carolina to a 4-0 victory against East Tennessee State in women’s soccer action at Stone Stadium. The win improves Carolina’s unbeaten streak to eight games with a 6-0-2 record, the longest in program history. East Tennessee State drops to 2-4-0 on the year in the loss.
“Our team came out ready to compete tonight,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “We’re glad to be home again after a weekend away. We played very well. They took advantage of what was given to us. It was an all around good effort.”
Senior Danila Monteiro scored her first goal of the season in the 8th minute for the game-winner. Lindsay Small, Kayla Grimsley and Blakely Mattern also scored for South Carolina while Brooke Jacobs, Grimsley, Kim Miller, Lindsay Small and Brittiny Rhoades notched assists in the effort.
Kayla Grimsley’s goal in the 22nd minute marked her fourth consecutive game with a goal after also scoring against Furman, Marquette and Florida State. The four-match scoring streak is the longest for a freshman since Lydia Bienias held a six-match scoring streak (goals and/or assists) in her freshman season from Sept. 30 to Oct. 17, 1998. However, Grimsley does become the first freshman to notch a goal in four consecutive games and is only the second player in Carolina history to do so, the other being Ashley Williams who hit goals in four games in 2004.
“Kayla’s just a very, very good player,” Smith said. “She’s one of the best players we’ve had here at Carolina. She came in as one of the top recruits in the country and came in ready to play at this level. When you can finish against college teams, you know you are ready to play right away. She does that for us. She’s one of the most skilled players I’ve seen. To have that kind of composure as a freshman is a bonus for us. It’s nice for her to step in with that kind of confidence is a plus.”
The last time South Carolina scored four goals in one half came in a 5-0 victory against Winthrop last season (Sept. 12, 2007) when the Gamecocks posted four goals in the second half against the Eagles. Carolina also scored five in the first half against East Tennessee State earlier in the year (Sept. 3, 2007).
The Gamecocks wasted no time attacking the Buccaneer defense with Monteiro attempting a shot on an open goal in the fifth minute that sailed just high. However, she would get a second chance when Jacobs played a ball up to Monteiro who then beat the keeper for her first goal of the year at 7:38. Carolina took the quick 2-0 lead when Grimsley played a cross to Small at 12:34 that was knocked into the top right corner of the net.
“I was pushing so hard to try to find a spot to put the team in a situation where we can relax in a game and pass the ball around,” Monteiro said of her game-winning goal “That was not just me. It was a perfect ball from Brooke. This team’s so unselfish. I’m so glad to come in here for my senior year. After last year, I don’t know how many goals (I had), but I think this first goal was more important than my other goals from last year. It was so good and I was so proud. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to celebrate, jump around.”
After dropping a 2-0 lead against then-No. 7 Florida State last Sunday before ending in a draw, the Gamecocks continued to press and came close to notching the third goal when Rhoades took a shot from 25 yards out that beat the keepers fingertips but hit the crossbar. Carolina would eventually get the 3-0 lead after Miller played a ball from her defensive midfield position to Grimsley – the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week – who then beat the defense for a 1v1 opportunity with the keeper that she knocked in at 21:59.
Mattern, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, scored her first goal of the season just before halftime off a corner kick from Rhoades. At 44:34, Rhoades took the first corner of the game for either team and Mattern got a head on it and into the net.
Every eligible Gamecock saw time in Friday’s match including redshirt sophomore Aly Shattls and true freshman Roya Mojarab. Shattls saw game action for the first time since the 2006 season after missing last year and the start of this year rehabbing an ACL injury. Mojarab combined with Mollie Patton to pitch South Carolina’s SEC-leading sixth shutout of the season.
“Tonight, obviously, we came out ready to play,” Smith said. “We put some points on the board early on and that helps any team ease into a game and not have so much pressure. That enabled us to allow so many players that haven’t played to get more minutes. I appreciate when the starting group is asked to a job, does it, and puts us on the board early. This game we were able to get a lot of minutes out of everyone on our roster. That’s going to help us going forward. Even our goalkeepers tonight, it was Roya’s first game in and she was able to get some minutes. To not have the first game jitters in conference play is very good.”
South Carolina recorded a 19-7 shot advantage and Patton registered two saves for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule Sunday when they travel to Cullowhee, N.C., to take on Western Carolina (2-5-0), a team that dropped a 3-0 decision to Tennessee Friday night. That match is scheduled for 2 p.m. as Carolina looks to enter conference play undefeated.