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Oct. 10, 2008

Final Stats

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina scored two goals in the opening eight minutes Friday night to defeat Mississippi State 2-1 in SEC women’s soccer action at Stone Stadium. Sophomore Brooke Jacobs scored the game-winning goal in the eighth minute after freshman Kayla Grimsley improved her consecutive match scoring streak to five games with a goal in the third minute of play.

The win moves Carolina to second in the SEC with a 9-2-3 overall record and 3-1-1 mark in conference play. Mississippi State falls to 5-9-0 overall and 0-5-0 in the SEC.

Grimsley leads the Gamecocks with eight goals and three assists on the year for 19 points. Her point total is third highest for a player in their first year at Carolina, surpassing the 18 points scored by Lydia Bienias and Morgan McIntyre in 1998. The goal is the Jacobs’s second career goal and both have been game-winners after her score against Arkansas last year pushed Carolina to the 1-0 victory.

“Kayla’s come through for us over and over,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “(She deserves) A lot of credit for her to put it away when we need her too. She’s played outstanding and that has continued as we moved into SEC play. Brooke stepped up and scored a goal for us. Hopefully that is off her back. There’s been so much pressure to get that goal as we need others to put the ball away besides Kayla. Even though Kayla’s been doing it, Brooke did a great job to get that goal tonight.”

South Carolina got on the board on its first shot of the game as Grimsley headed a ball off a free kick from Samantha Diaz-Matosas that found the back of the net 2:18 into the game. The score just missed the Carolina top five mark for quickest goal scored to begin a game with the fifth spot coming in at 2:05. The assist was the first of the year for Diaz-Matosas.

The Gamecocks came close to scoring the second goal less than two minutes later when Kim Miller’s shot at 4:05 was saved by Bulldog keeper Taryn Holland before Shannon Bigbie knocked in the rebound. However, Bigbie was called offsides on the play as the goal was erased. Carolina would eventually score the game-winner at 7:57 when Bigbie found Jacobs on a cross for the goal.

Bigbie now ties the Carolina record with three game-winning assists on the year, a mark shared by three other players. Bigbie has four in her career, two behind all-time leader Ashley Kirk who notched six assists on game-winning goals in her career from 2004-07.

Mississippi State registered its first shot 22 minutes into the game as the Gamecocks held the Bulldogs to only one shot in the first half. Carolina came out firing in the second half as well but could not hit the third goal despite chances created by Grimsley and Miller throughout the half. In a five-minute span, Grimsley had two shots in the box saved while Miller’s free kick in the 58th found Blakely Mattern in front of the goal with the ensuing shot deflected over the net. Grimsley and Miller then led the Gamecocks on two drives, the first resulting in a Bulldog yellow card to Meredith Jacobson for tripping Grimsley on a breakaway and the second resulting in a yellow card to Bulldog Mariclaire Fancher for tripping Miller.

The Bulldogs hit the board in the 79th minute following a Carolina corner kick that ended in misfortune. Following the corner kick, the ball went back to the Carolina defense, but the play was blocked by Tarah Henderson and led to an open breakaway beginning at midfield as Henderson used the free space to knock in the goal at 78:48.

“I thought we played very well tonight,” Smith said. “We came out and showed that we were ready to play from the start. Sunday we learned our lesson and tonight we took care of business right away. We’ll take something from every game and tonight we learned not to give one away. We made it more of a game than we should have. In most areas we dominated play and that’s rewarding for the team coming back from a loss last weekend.”

South Carolina held a 20-4 shot advantage and an 11-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Gamecocks also recorded a 10-0 edge in corner kicks. The Bulldogs held a 20-11 edge in fouls. The game marks the fourth time that Carolina has held Mississippi State under five shots in a game, the last time occurring when Carolina limited the Bulldogs to just two shots at Stone Stadium in 2006.

“I thought our backs did a great job tonight,” Smith said. “They didn’t let anything build. Blakely Mattern and Ellen Fahey did a great job to stifle a lot of their attack as balls came out to their forwards. They didn’t allow the game to build off the forwards. They did very well and got involved in the attack as well.”

South Carolina returns to the pitch Sunday afternoon to take on the Ole Miss Rebels at 2 p.m. Ole Miss is 5-6-2 overall and 3-2-0 in the SEC after a 1-0 loss Friday night at Florida.