Oct. 2, 2008
|South Carolina at Kentucky | Friday, 7 p.m.
|South Carolina at Vanderbilt | Sunday, 3 p.m.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 24 South Carolina returns to action this weekend with their first SEC road trip of the season as they prepare to take on Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks and Wildcats will meet Friday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. as South Carolina looks to make it two wins straight against Kentucky.
Carolina will then head to Nashville, Tenn., for a 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday match against Vanderbilt. The Commodores are a team that has historically caused problems for the Gamecocks as Carolina enters the match with a 1-12-2 record in the series. Carolina’s lone victory came in the 1999 season when they registered a 1-0 win at home off a game-winning goal from Mindy Sanders.
Gametracker will be available for both matches at GamecocksOnline.com.
ON THE HORIZON
South Carolina returns home next weekend when they host Mississippi State and Ole Miss at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday before the Rebels come to Columbia for a 2 p.m. Sunday tilt.
The Carolina-Kentucky match will feature a pair of sisters on the field in the Gamecocks’ Ellen Fahey – a freshman defender – and the Wildcats’ Katie Fahey – a junior forward. Both players have been consistent performers for their teams with the Carolina Fahey having started every game at defender and the Wildcat Fahey having started every game as well. Kentucky is led by sophomore forward Laura Novikoff who has five goals and one assist for 11 points, seven more points than the next performer. Sydney Hiance sports a 1.34 GAA in goal with four shutouts.
The Commodores had a strong start to the season with a 6-1-1 record before dropping both SEC games last week. Vanderbilt’s attack is spread amongst the team with Amy Wilcox leading all scorers with team highs in goals (3), assists (3) and points (9). Rachel Bachtel sports a 1.28 GAA with three shutouts but has a .690 save percentage. The Commodores lead the conference 260 shots through 10 games, an average of 26 shots and 13 shots on goal per contest.
Natalie Aaron’s CAREER WEEKEND
Freshman Natalie Aaron had a weekend to remember! The freshman midfielder was named SEC Freshman of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal against Tennessee and game-tying goal against Georgia, the first two goals of her career.
MONTEIRO PUSHED OUT
Senior Danila Monteiro looked forward to enjoying a full season with the Gamecocks in her final year but saw that idea end in just the second minute of Sunday’s match against Western Carolina. A hard foul to the back knocked Monteiro on the ground and she missed the remainder of the game with a leg injury. Monteiro, who missed the 2007 regular season finale and postseason after tearing her ACL, will be evaluated and will not dress until further notice.
RETURN TO THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
For the third consecutive week the Gamecocks are making an appearance in the polls with a No. 24 ranking by NSCAA and Soccer America. Carolina is also ranked No. 30 by Soccer Buzz.
OFFENSE STARTS FROM THE MIDFIELD
After starting the season with just three goals in the first four games, the South Carolina offense has awakened recently with 13 in the last seven. The catalysts to the output has come from the starting midfield trio of juniors Kim Miller and Lindsay Small and freshman Kayla Grimsley . Those three have combined for seven of those 13 goals.
PATTON SHINES IN FIRST SEASON IN GOAL
Redshirt-sophomore Mollie Patton has been the spark to the team’s success in the early part of the season. Playing for the first time since she graduated high school in 2005, Patton currently is second in the SEC with five shutouts and sports a 0.61 goals against average which ranks third in the conference. She began the season with a 434:23 shutout streak that ended against Furman and came up big in Carolina’s draw with No. 7 Florida State.
After playing six matches in extra minutes last season – all coming after the start of SEC play – the Gamecocks have already played four this year. South Carolina tied UNC Wilmington and No. 7 Florida State in double-overtime and defeated Furman 2-1 in the first OT. The win marked Carolina’s first OT victory since defeating LSU (also by a 2-1 score) on Oct. 20, 2006.