Nov. 4, 2010
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By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant
UPDATE: South Carolina will play #6 seed LSU Friday at 6 p.m. (ET). LSU defeated #3 seed Tennessee 1-0 with an overtime golden goal by Addie Eggleston. The last time South Carolina and LSU met in the SEC Tournament was the 2009 championship match that tied 1-1 before Carolina won its first SEC title with an 8-7 victory in the penalty kick shootout.
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – South Carolina senior Brooke Jacobs scored in regulation and SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kayla Grimsley hit the final shot of a penalty kick shootout to lead the No. 2 seed Gamecocks (14-4-3) to the SEC Tournament semifinal round for the third time in four years. South Carolina and Kentucky (10-7-3) played to a 1-1 draw before the Gamecocks took the 3-2 shootout victory with conversions by Jacobs, Grimsley and Kelsey Barr.
Brooke Jacobs put Carolina ahead in just the 10th minute (9:39) of the match courtesy of assists by Kayla Grimsley and Danielle Au. Grimsley passed inside the box to Au, who centered it for Jacobs who took a one-touch into the upper 90. The goal was the first for Jacobs since her hamstring injury against Alabama, and also gave Grimsley that elusive 10th assist that has eluded her since the Mississippi State game. Kentucky tied the match with five minutes remaining in regulation off a corner kick that bent into the net with the heavy winds.
“It’s awesome,” Grimsley said of becoming the first Gamecock to join the 10-goal, 10-assist, 30-point club. “Like I said before, I was only one assist away from someone else doing their job. Today, Danielle Au got herself open on a very calm Kentucky defense and Brooke was in the perfect position. Danielle played a perfect ball and we scored. It’s just incredible the build up that we had. We were calm and composed. The wind out here was crazy. It’s just good to get that. Being in the 10-10-30 club is an accomplishment and I’m really excited about it.”
The match was the second consecutive SEC tournament match to go into overtime and into a penalty kick shootout for South Carolina, who played LSU to a 1-1 draw in regulation before winning the 2009 SEC title on penalty kicks. It is the fourth overtime match of the season for South Carolina, and all four have gone to double overtime. The Gamecocks now move to 1-0-3 in overtime games this year.
In the penalty kick shootout, Kentucky missed its first two attempts by sailing the first shot high and having the second saved by South Carolina goalkeeper Mollie Patton. Following conversions by Jacobs and Barr, combined with shots that hit the post and crossbar by Brittiny and Kortney Rhoades, Grimsley knocked in the final penalty kick to allow Carolina to advance.
“The wind played a factor obviously in the match,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “Both teams did well when they had to win. That’s something we had to weather. In the second half Kentucky did a good job to put the ball away, but we weathered it well. It was too bad we gave up one with five minutes left, but we did well under that circumstance to get chances and keep the ball under that pressure of not being able to play forward a lot. In PK’s, it’s a tough thing to lose by, but we’ve been here before in that scenario. A lot of players stepped up and did what they need to do. It was a great job by Mollie Patton in goal.”
The Gamecocks went into the half with a 10-3 advantage in shots and 3-1 advantage in corner kicks while going with the heavy winds. It took a few attempts in the opening stanza before the Gamecocks perfected their touches with the 20-mile an hour winds as the first few long passes and volleys for Carolina carried into the skies and towards the keeper.
Au almost made it 1-0 in the opening eight minutes with a shot from 20 yards that nearly carried over Kentucky goalkeeper Sydney Hiance’s hands into the net before the netminder was able to stop it. The Wildcats had their first moment against the weather shortly after when the team took a throw-in just to see it fly right back out of bounds. The ensuing Carolina possession ended up resulting in the goal by Jacobs.
“It was a great feeling to come back,” Jacobs said of her first goal since Auburn. “I feel like I’m back in the game. It was a great feeling for our team to put us up one (goal). Now we have a chance to go on to the next game.”
Through the next 15 minutes, Carolina peppered Kentucky with shots, taking a 7-0 advantage in attempts in the opening 25 minutes. The Wildcats had their best looks in the final 10 minutes of the half with a free kick and corner kick in quick succession, but the Gamecock backline was able to keep them from getting a shot on frame heading into the half.
Kentucky was able to go with the wind in the second half and immediately began putting pressure on the Gamecock defense with two corner kicks in the opening six minutes. The second corner kick found a Wildcat head for the sure goal before First Team All-SEC member Brittiny Rhoades put a head on it to clear it off the line, protecting the 1-0 Gamecock lead. Minutes later, Kentucky’s power defender Laura Novikoff took a free kick short of midfield that sailed high over the net, a display that would keep the Gamecocks honest for the remainder of the period with her powerful shot threats.
Jacobs came within inches of knocking in her second goal of the match in the 75th minute when Maria Petroni found her for an open net with the goalkeeper down on the ground. Jacobs rocketed the ball towards the empty net, but the shot went wide right. The teams played even until Kentucky’s Alyssa Telang was able to bend a corner kick into the net with five minutes remaining in regulation to tie the match 1-1.
Through two overtime periods, South Carolina outshot Kentucky 6-1 but couldn’t get the winning goal as the teams headed into a penalty kick shootout in the very first match of the 2010 SEC Tournament. For the game, South Carolina limited Kentucky to only two shots on goal, making it the 13th game in the last 14 that Carolina has limited an opponent to four shots on goal or less.
South Carolina advances to the SEC semifinal for the third time in four years. Carolina will play the winner of today’s Tennessee-LSU match at 6 p.m. (ET) Friday evening.
“We knew it was something we’d deal with if we went trough,” Smith said of playing two games in two days. “This whole tournament is a test in endurance. I feel good about our depth. We have players that didn’t play a lot of minutes that have given us good minutes all year. We look forward to turning around and playing tomorrow.”