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Sept. 26, 2010

Final Stats

Coach Smith Post-Match Interview

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Five players scored in one of the biggest routs in Gamecock history as No. 23 South Carolina defeated Kentucky 5-1 Sunday afternoon in front of 494 fans at the UK Soccer Complex.

“I was very pleased with the way we put the ball in the net today,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “That’s something we struggled with the last couple of games. The chances we had (today), we put them away. That’s what we need to do. Kentucky played us tough. It was a great battle in the first half. We did well to come back (and score) before the half ended. We came out in the second with more determination and made the most of our chances. We all feel great about putting that ball in the back of the net after not doing it the last couple of games.”

MAC Hermann Trophy Award candidate Kayla Grimsley hit the game-winner in the 53rd minute and South Carolina scored four goals in an eight-minute span in the second half to send the Gamecocks away with an unbeaten SEC opening weekend. Samantha McGowan (40th), Lolly Holland (56th), Brooke Jacobs (58th) and Danielle Au (61st) added the other goals for Carolina, and sophomore Christine Watts added two assists as South Carolina improves to 7-2-2 (1-0-1 SEC) on the year. Kentucky falls to 6-4-0 (0-2-0 SEC).

South Carolina had not scored five goals in a game against an SEC opponent since defeating Auburn on the road on Sept. 20, 1998 in a 5-1 victory. It is the fourth time in program history that the Gamecocks scored five against an SEC team after also defeating Mississippi State by a 5-1 score (Oct. 20, 1996) as well as in an 8-5 loss to Vanderbilt that same year (Sept. 13, 1996).

The last time South Carolina scored four goals in a half against an SEC opponent was on September 26, 1999 against LSU. The last time it occurred against any opponent was against East Tennessee State on Sept. 19, 2008.

The Gamecocks held a 19-7 shot advantage in the game, with a 13-3 advantage in shots on goal. After an even first half, Carolina dominated possession in the second stanza with a 13-2 shot edge.

“The fact that everyone played and everyone had opportunities to show what they can do in the SEC (was fantastic),” Smith said. “Everyone played a great role. (After) losing Kira Campbell Friday night, we had to play different. Lolly (Holland) stepped up and took over in the midfield. Those are things we need out of our players coming of the bench. I’m proud of the team’s effort. They did what they need to do to win the game.”

The Wildcats struck first in the game on a 1v1 opportunity for Kelsey Hunyadi after two Gamecock defenders misplayed a high bounce in the box to give the Wildcat midfielder an open route to Patton. The Kentucky goal ended an even 25 minutes of play that saw both teams earn quick opportunities. Carolina earned its first look in the eighth when Watts fed Holland for a strike that was saved. Two minutes later, Kentucky defender Laura Novikoff rocketed a free kick from midfield to Patton for her lone save of the half.

McGowan scored her first career goal at 39:53 to tie the game. Grimsley played a ball between her defenders legs back to Watts, who centered it to a waiting McGowan. The freshman took two touches before blasting it past Kentucky goalkeeper Sydney Hiance.

Junior defender Ellen Fahey received her first caution of the season for dissention in the 39th minute. On a Gamecock set piece, Fahey went up for a shot on goal before getting sandwiched between two Kentucky players. Wanting a foul – which would have resulted in a penalty kick for the Gamecocks – Fahey was denied by the official.

The Gamecocks opened the game early in the second half with a flurry of four goals in an eight-minute span to put the game away. Grimsley slotted her second of the season in the 53rd after a cross by Watts left Grimsley alone with a defender. The junior forward slid it past Hiance for the 2-1 lead.

Three minutes later, McGowan and Jacobs set up Carolina’s third goal. McGowan played to Jacobs on the wing, and her cross landed directly in front of Lolly Holland. Holland, who made her first career start Sunday, had her first shot blocked but sent her own rebound into the net for the 3-1 advantage.

Jacobs added her own goal less than two minutes later with a shot also going in on her own rebound. Hiance saved Jacobs first attempt on the breakaway, but the rebound found Jacobs’s foot and scuttled across the line to make the score 4-1 in the 58th minute.

Au hit the final tally of the game at 60:15 with a goal courtesy of an assist by Jacobs. Kentucky had one more look on goal in the 71st minute, but Patton made an acrobatic save on the header off a corner kick to keep the final score 5-1.

“It’s fantastic,” Smith said of going unbeaten in the SEC opening weekend on the road. “We always say how hard it is to play on the road in the SEC. To get points on the road is outstanding. I’m really proud of the team’s determination to bounce back from a disappointing Friday when we couldn’t find the net and played well but couldn’t find a way to win.”

South Carolina returns home next weekend when the team hosts Ole Miss in the NSCAA National Game of the Week. The Gamecocks and Rebels will kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday night in a match that will be nationally-televised on the Fox Soccer Channel. Carolina will then play Mississippi State on Sunday in a game regionally-televised by CSS at 2 p.m.