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Nov. 14, 2008

Final Stats

DURHAM, N.C. – The South Carolina women’s soccer team dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to William & Mary in NCAA First Round action at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. The loss ends Carolina’s season at 11-7-4 and wraps up the team’s second consecutive NCAA bid. William & Mary improves to 15-6-1 and advances to face No. 3 seed Duke in the next round.

The match marks the second consecutive opening round overtime match for the Gamecocks, who tied Duke 1-1 last season before falling in penalty kicks. William & Mary’s Claire Zimmeck scored the golden goal at 92:03 to end Carolina’s NCAA run.

“I think we played very well tonight,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “We played our hearts out. Our kids left everything on the field. I was so proud of their performance.”

Brooke Jacobs and Dani Monteiro scored goals for South Carolina. Jacobs scored in the 35th minute courtesy of an assist from Kim Miller to tie the match 1-1. Monteiro, the lone senior on the South Carolina team, scored in the 60th courtesy of assists from Jacobs and Kayla Grimsley to give Carolina a 2-1 lead.

Zimmeck scored her first goal in the 79th to tie the game and send it to overtime before hitting the golden goal to end the game.

South Carolina was charged with 16 fouls to four given to William & Mary. After finishing the regular season with only three yellow cards, the lowest total in the SEC, the Gamecocks were booked Friday night with four yellows and two reds, including two yellows given after The Tribe’s controversial second goal.

“I told the team it’s something to learn from, to be here and to be feel the sting of being out in the first round,” Smith said. “I think we were obviously very excited to make it to the NCAA’s and to have the committee give us a chance. I thought we could have won tonight and give William & Mary credit for battling and getting the goals they needed. It was a good game.”

Playing on a rain-soaked field as a steady light rain showered the Durham area throughout the day, the Gamecocks played the aggressors early on to take a 5-4 shot advantage into the half. The Gamecocks earned their first chance in the eighth minute when freshman defender Ellen Fahey played a ball up to classmate Grimsley, who then split two defenders in the box but was thwarted when the keeper ran out to dive for the ball.

Carolina’s next best look came in the 30th minute as Shannon Bigbie played a ball in the box to Grimsley whose header barely missed the left post. Using the momentum, the Tribe advanced the ball into the attacking third and forced a South Carolina foul. CAA Defensive Player of the Year Abby Lauer sent the free kick to Danielle Collins’s head for a 10-yard header to give William & Mary a 1-0 lead at 34:05.

The Gamecocks responded quickly with Jacobs getting the tying goal four minutes later. After a William & Mary throw-in, Miller stole the ball and crossed it to Jacobs for an open shot at 38:18. The goal was the third of the season for Jacobs.

Much like the first goal, Carolina’s second goal came after the Gamecocks stole a William & Mary throw-in. Jacobs took the ball from the Tribe defender and sent a pass to Grimsley, who then played it up to Monteiro for a goal from 12 yards out at 59:59 for the 2-1 lead.

Not long after the goal, the fouls began to mount up beginning with the first yellow card going to Monteiro in the 64th for protesting. Lauer took the free kick for the Tribe with a long strike that was saved by Carolina keeper Mollie Patton. Three minutes later, Bonny Lepley was given a booking and Lauer again boomed a free kick on goal that was jump saved by Patton. Zimmeck, a two-time All-American, came close to scoring the equalizer in the 73rd with a shot that hit the left post before she eventually found the net in the 79th from eight yards out.

Believing that a handball should have been called on Zimmeck before the goal, Miller was given a yellow card for protesting the no-call. Seventeen seconds after the restart, Blakely Mattern was given a booking for a tackle at 78:34. Both teams were able to threaten on corner kicks in the remaining minutes of regulation with the Tribe sailing a shot high in the 85th minute and Carolina’s corner kick with 15 seconds remaining leading to a header that missed the mark as the game went into overtime.

In the extra period, Zimmeck was able to score after missing an initial header on a cross but finding herself in perfect position for a ball that was sent back into the box. Following the match, a red card was given to Monteiro and the Carolina bench.

The Gamecocks end a successful season and lose only one senior in Monteiro. With a roster of 28 players and 14 freshmen, the Gamecocks will look to build on the momentum of back-to-back NCAA appearances with a solid core of juniors returning to lead the team in Mattern, Miller, Samantha Diaz-Matosas, Lindsay Small, Shannon Bigbie and Kacie Brewer. Grimsley ended the season with the second-most points scored by a freshman and ties the freshman record with six assists.

Jacobs, who last season set a freshman record with a .727 shot on goal percentage, also set the sophomore record with a .684 shot on goal percentage this year. Patton finishes tied for the Carolina single season record with seven shutouts.

“The players that come back will have the hunger to get back to the NCAA’s,” Smith said. “They know they can get past the first round and I think they’ll have that drive coming in to next fall. So that’s some motivation for the young players: to get back here and get past that first game. Any time you make it to postseason it’s great experience, especially for some of the young freshmen on the team.”