Oct. 2, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 8 South Carolina used a goal by Lindsay Small in the 68th minute to remain perfect on the year with a 1-0 win at Ole Miss Friday. The Gamecocks earned their ninth shutout of the season and moved to 11-0-0 on the year and 3-0 in SEC play. Ole Miss falls to 7-3 overall and 1-1 in the SEC.
“I thought it was a great match,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “Ole Miss is a tremendous team. To come here and get a win on the road is a tremendous effort by our team. Ole Miss did a good job to come back as soon as we scored a goal, which was a huge ball by Small from Miller. After we got the goal, Ole Miss did a good job to put pressure on us, but we handled it. Mollie Patton came up with big saves, Blakely Mattern was great in the air and the outside backs did a great job. It was a team effort and it was great to get the shutout.”
Small flicked a header into the net at 67:50 from 10 yards out off a Kim Miller free kick to keep the Gamecocks undefeated. With the win, South Carolina remains one of only two teams in the nation without a loss or tie.
Junior goalkeeper Mollie Patton grabbed five crucial saves to earn her nation-leading ninth shutout of the season, and she improved to 16 in her career. After setting the South Carolina single-season shutout record last Sunday, she now holds sole possession of the career shutout record as well with her 16th shutout in 33 career games.
“All season, when she’s been asked to make a save, she’s made the save,” Smith said of Patton. “That’s made a huge difference in our results right now. Our defense limits teams to few chances, but the ones they have are good chances, and we do a good job to stop them. It was a great team effort.”
South Carolina got the early look of the game in the second when a Samantha Diaz-Matosas throw-in to Kayla Grimsley found its way to Small at the top of the ’18, but the senior was not able to get off a shot. However, after that run the Rebels went on the offensive and gave the Gamecocks their stiffest competition to date.
As Ole Miss continued to control the run of play, South Carolina was still able to get shots off in a half where the Gamecocks held an 8-4 shot advantage yet probably held possession for a third of the period. Carolina almost converted its first goal in the 20th minute after Blakely Mattern’s clearance sailed over the heads of the field players and found Brooke Jacobs behind the defense, but the linesman blew his whistle for offsides to prevent Jacobs from getting a shot off.
Less than five minutes later Ole Miss found a break with a three-on-two opportunity, but Diaz-Matosas was able to stop the first attacker inside the ’18 to end the threat. Using the momentum, the Gamecocks got their first strong look of the game with a Grimsley shot inside the ’18 that sailed high of the net. Both teams continued back and forth with possession before heading into the half with a scoreless tie.
In the second stanza, the game began to break open. The Rebels earned a breakaway from midfield in the 52nd minute when Hannah Weatherly forced a turnover to get a run at Patton. Weatherly took the ball all the way to Patton and fired off a shot from three yards out, but Patton saved the point blank shot to keep the game scoreless.
In the 65th minute, Patton had a diving save that also kept the game at a deadlock before Smalls was able to put Carolina ahead 1-0 with her header that sailed over the keepers head and into the net for her third goal of the season. After the goal, the Gamecocks began to control the run of play and were able to hold off the Rebel charge for the 1-0 victory.
The Gamecocks held a 10-8 edge in shots in the match, but Ole Miss had a 5-1 edge in corner kicks. Both teams had five shots on goal.
South Carolina returns to the pitch Sunday afternoon with a 2 p.m. match at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs (8-2-1) tied No. 7 Florida 1-1 in Starkville Friday night.