Oct. 5, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Freshman Kayla Grimsley scored her SEC-leading seventh goal of the season but the Gamecocks were not able to overcome an early 2-0 deficit as No. 24 South Carolina dropped a 2-1 decision on the road Sunday at Vanderbilt. The loss is the second of the year for South Carolina, moving their record to 8-2-3 overall and 2-1-1 in SEC play. The Commodores improve to 7-4-1 and 1-3-0 in conference play.
Trailing 2-0 late in the second half after Vanderbilt sophomore’s Molly and Megan Kinsella each scored goals, Grimsley put the Gamecocks on the board at 75:23 to put her in a tie with Tennessee’s Kylie Rossi for tops in the SEC with seven goals on the year. Also following Sunday’s action, Grimsley now sits alone at the top of the conference with 17 points on the year.
“We didn’t play our best game today,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “I don’t think we came out as mentally prepared for the battle in the first half and it cost us a goal. I thought we were hesitant in our play and sat back. You can’t do that against a good SEC team. Vanderbilt did a good job to take advantage. They battled heard and got a goal.”
Vanderbilt controlled the ball in the opening minutes of the match but it was the Gamecocks that got the first look on goal following a corner kick in the 17th minute with Brooke Jacobs striking a shot from 12 yards out that was saved. However, the Commodores took the early lead in the 25th minute when Megan Kinsella one-timed a shot from the goal line that banked in off the far post.
Kim Miller came close to hitting the equalizer in the 31st minute on a one-timer that just sailed wide to the left. Minutes later an offisdes call ended a dangerous Carolina attack at the top of the 18′ as Carolina went into the half with a one-goal deficit despite a 5-3 edge in shots.
Mollie Patton dodged a bullet in the 54th minute when Vanderbilt’s Molly Kinsella found her way behind the Carolina defense and hit a shot from eight yards out that was saved. The Commodores used the momentum and were able to score their second goal one minute later as Molly Kinsella hit a shot in traffic from six yards out that hit a defender and slid into the net at 54:55.
The Gamecocks fell inches shy of a goal in the 65th minute when Jacobs’s cross into the box landed at Kayla Grimsley’s feet, leading to a shot eight yards out that was saved by a running Rachel Bachtel and cleared by the defense. It wasn’t until the 76th minute that the Gamecocks were able to get the ball in the net as Grimsley beat her defender on the right flank and struck a shot at 75:23 that, much like Vanderbilt’s second goal, went into the net after a deflection got the keeper off-balance.
The goal marks the fourth straight game that Grimsley has registered a point after recording assists in both games last weekend and notching two goals in Friday’s win at Kentucky. The four-game scoring streak matches Grimsley’s four-game scoring streak set earlier this season when she recorded goals against Furman, Marquette, then-No. 7 Florida State and East Tennessee State.
The Gamecocks had one chance to tie the match with 50 seconds remaining on a shot from the left flank by Blakely Mattern that went just right of the goal as the Commodores were able to escape with the 2-1 victory.
“In that second half we put ourselves in position to come back,” Smith said. “There were several opportunities that we created being down two goals that we believed we could come back. Credit to our players, they worked hard and left everything on the field. Our captains, Kim Miller and Blakely Mattern, did a good job to fight and get us back in the game.”
South Carolina held a 19-12 advantage in shots and 9-5 advantage in shots on goal.
South Carolina returns home next week when it hosts Mississippi State and Ole Miss. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs will compete Friday night at 7 p.m. followed by the Sunday afternoon match with the Rebels.