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Sept. 20, 2009

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Six players scored goals and Kayla Grimsley extended her consecutive match scoring streak to eight games as No. 12 South Carolina defeated South Alabama 6-1 to remain perfect on the year with a program-best 8-0-0 start to the season.

South Carolina earned three goals in both halves of the match to end non-conference play unbeaten and untied for the first time in program history. Senior Lindsay Small hit the first goal at 3:30 followed by the game-winning goal from Samantha Diaz-Matosas (19:03), and another goal by Natalie Aaron (27:34). In the second half, Grimsley (55:53), Lolly Holland (59:32) and Kacie Brewer (73:39) scored for the Gamecocks.

“You don’t find that a lot,” Grimsley said of the six different players scoring goals.” That’s incredible. Whether you’re a starter or not, there’s 30 girls on this team and it takes all 30 girls to win a game. We showed that with six goals by six different people, it doesn’t matter who’s on the field. We’re ready at all times.”

The goal in the 86th minute by South Alabama’s Sam Stocker was the first allowed by the Gamecock defense in 2009. Mollie Patton still holds sole possession of the NCAA lead with seven solo shutouts and has still not allowed a goal this season, improving her shutout streak to 689:32. She and sophomore Roya Mojarab played in the net for the Gamecocks, marking Mojarab’s second career appearance.

“I’m obviously pleased again with the result,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “It’s selfish a little bit, but I’m disappointed we gave up a goal and ended our streak of shutouts (but) I’m happy with the goal scoring we had today. Everyone came in and worked well together. We got a lot of players in and a lot of good minutes from everybody. That’s nice on a Sunday when Friday night was tough. To come here Sunday and have the help we had off the bench was wonderful. I’m very pleased with the result and glad we’re undefeated going into the SEC season.”

Fresh off an inspiring 1-0 shutout win against No. 17 UCF Friday night, South Carolina wasted no time in getting on the board as Kim Miller sent a ball to Small inside the ’18 to open the scoring in the fourth minute. The Gamecocks continued to press with junior Brooke Jacobs getting two looks that were saved by USA’s keeper before Grimsley struck a shot in the 18th minute that clanged off the left post.

Shortly after the shot attempt, Diaz-Matosas subbed into the game and hit the game-winner 50 seconds after entering the match. Taking a corner kick, her ball sailed over the crowd huddled at the near post and found its way into the net on the far corner for the early 2-0 lead. In the 28th, Aaron earned her first goal of the season courtesy of a cross from Brooke Jacobs for an open look on goal.

South Alabama earned its first shot of the match in the 33rd minute with a shot that was saved by Patton. The Gamecocks then had two more chances to score. The first came on a breakaway by Brewer in the 36th minute that was saved before Aaron had a goal called back in the 37th minute to an offsides call.

In the second half, Kortney Rhoades found Grimsley in the 56th with a ball that sent Grimsley on a 1v1 with the keeper. The sophomore was able to slide it past the keeper for her seventh goal of the season. Grimsley has now scored a point (goal and/or assist) in every game this season for South Carolina, extending the school record that she set in the win against UCF. She opened the year with goals in three straight matches before tallying an assist against Cincinnati. Since the assist, Grimsley has scored a goal in Carolina’s last four matches, tying her own program record that she set last season for consecutive matches with a goal.

In the 60th, Holland earned her first career goal courtesy of an assist from senior defender Blakely Mattern. Mattern’s clearance up top gave Holland a 1v1 opportunity with the keeper, and the sophomore was able to send it into the net for the 5-0 lead. Brewer scored Carolina’s final goal in the 74th off a header with assists from Maria Petroni and Aaron.

South Carolina outshot the Jaguars 23-4. Thirteen different players have scored a goal for South Carolina this season, and only two of those players have notched more than two goals this season.

“It shows that we have people that are able to score,” Smith said. “It takes pressure off someone like Kayla who has done an excellent job playing up top for us so many minutes and getting goals every game. You also have people that can step up when she’s able to lay the balls off and create space for others. She’s done a good job and others have done a good job to finish around her.”

No. 12 South Carolina returns to the pitch Friday night when the Gamecocks host Vanderbilt in the SEC opener for both teams. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports South and is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.

“We’re more prepared than we ever have been,” Smith said. “The way we’re scoring goals and shutting out opponents, we feel ready. We know that being ranked is pressure to continue every week to prove that’s where you belong, but I feel we have a group that’s ready and willing to keep us in the top 20. They’re talented, they’ve played against top talent already and showed we can win games and score goals.”