Sept. 13, 2009
CLEMSON, S.C. – Blakely Mattern and Kayla Grimsley scored to keep the No. 18 South Carolina women’s soccer team perfect on the year with a 2-0 win against UNC Wilmington to win the Carolina’s Cup title for the third consecutive year. The Gamecocks (6-0-0) have not allowed a goal yet in the 2009 season and have outscored opponents 18-0 through six games.
Mattern hit her fourth goal of the year at 55:17 for the game winner, and Grimsley added an insurance goal at 63:51 for her SEC-leading fifth goal of the year. Both were named to the Carolina’s Cup All-Tournament team in addition to seniors Kim Miller and Lindsay Small. Mattern was named Tournament MVP after her three-goal weekend.
“I couldn’t be happier (with) another shutout and another great performance,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “It’s always been a team effort and we continued that. Today we didn’t come out our best in the first half. It was a little sluggish. We kind of expect that after the game on Friday. We did well to change that at half. Players that came off the bench lifted us, which was a huge relief to the players that started the game. Kayla to step up and score goals and get that second (goal for us) was huge. Blakely has been solid all weekend. She deserves to be MVP (after) not only shutting out an opponent but to also be an offensive threat.”
Redshirt junior Mollie Patton registered six saves in the game to record her nation-leading sixth shutout of the season. Her season opening shutout streak extends to 540:00, and the performance was her 13th career shutout.
Grimsley has scored a point in every game this season for South Carolina and has five goals and one assist for 11 points through six games. She moves to tenth on the Gamecock all-time scoring list with 33 career points.
“Another win and shutout is awesome,” Mattern said. “It was hot today. We were tired from Friday and came off an emotional game, but our team rose to the challenge. (The slow first half) was something we haven’t experienced and we stepped up in the second half. It came from the end of the bench to everyone playing on the field, it was a team effort.”
The Seahawks set an early tone for a defensive struggle in staying staunchly committed to its 4-5-1 scheme in an attempt to prevent the Gamecock attackers from getting looks on goal after South Carolina’s 5-0 win against Clemson Friday. Despite the attempt, the Gamecocks were able to get strong looks on goal with an 11-1 shot advantage at the end of the first half.
Small gave Carolina’s its first shot at scoring in the 30th minute when Kayla Grimsley danced through the defense to get her a ball 12 yards out, but the attempt was saved by the Seahawk goalkeeper.
Mattern came within inches of a goal in the 38th with a header off a Kim Miller corner kick that grazed the cross bar and went over the net to end the threat. Through the remainder of the half, the Gamecocks continued pushing the ball and getting shots off, but none crossed the line as the teams went into the break in a scoreless tie. The Seahawks were able to get their first shot on the net with 24 seconds remaining in the half.
The Seahawks employed a different strategy in the second half by attacking the Gamecocks, and it initially worked as UNC Wilmington was able to fire off five shots on goal, each saved by Patton with an array of diving saves. The Gamecocks, however, were able to get the looks on goal that they were searching for shortly afterwards with Mattern scoring her fourth goal of the year at 55:17. Kortney Rhoades was able to split the defense for a shot in front of the keeper that was saved, but the deflection landed right at Mattern’s feet and the senior ran the ball into the net for the goal.
Eight minutes later, Grimsley notched her team-leading fifth goal of the year courtesy of assists from Ellen Fahey and Kacie Brewer. Following a Seahawk shot attempt that was blocked, Fahey sent a clearance that reached Brewer inside the ’18. Brewer then redirected the ball to Grimsley who sent a strike high into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead at 63:51.
The Gamecocks continued to press and finished the game with a 23-8 shot advantage. South Carolina attempted three corner kicks to UNC Wilmington’s zero.
No. 18 South Carolina returns home next weekend for the first time in two weeks when the Gamecocks host UCF Friday night at 7 p.m. The Knights (4-1-1) are coming off a 1-0 win against No. 4 Florida State and will head to Stone Stadium for the first time. The Gamecocks will then face South Alabama Sunday afternoon in the non-conference finale.