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Nov. 5, 2010

Final Stats | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant

South Carolina vs. LSU
November 5, 2010 • Orange Beach, Fla.
Team 1st 2nd OT1 OT2 SO Total
LSU 0 1 0 0 (3) 1
South Carolina 1 0 0 0 (4) 1
Coach Smith
Kayla Grimsley Post-Game Comments

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – South Carolina went to penalty kicks for the second straight night and once again came out victorious as the No. 2 seed Gamecocks advance to the SEC Championship game for the second consecutive season. SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kayla Grimsley scored for Carolina in the first half and once again converted the final kick of the shootout to lead South Carolina (14-4-4) past LSU (8-8-5) 4-3 on penalty kicks after drawing 1-1 through 110 minutes of action.

“It was a battle,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “We controlled a lot of the play. We had a lot of the possession. I thought we did well in the first half to do what we needed to do to get the goal and go up. The second half we couldn’t find the net like we wanted to to put the game away. Give LSU credit. Both teams were tired and played a lot the day before. That was the last thing we wanted to do after playing the day before, but we’re just glad we’re advancing.”

After battling her man-marker, Reyna Lubin, for much of the first 25 minutes of the match, Grimsley was able to get past off a deflected ball for a 1v1 opportunity with LSU goalkeeper Megan Kinneman. The SEC Offensive Player of the Year wasted no time in slotting it into the net to give the Gamecocks the 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.

Grimsley tied the South Carolina single-season record for points with her goal at 28:46 to take the early lead. The goal was her 12th of the season, which coupled with her 10 assists gives her 34 points to tie the 15-year old record that was set by Jennie Ondo (14 goals, six assists).

“She’s the player of the year in the conference,” Smith said of Grimsley. “She’s well-deserving obviously from her performance here at SEC’s and all season. We can count on her to be a threat at all times. She’ll look to score goals and set up others. She knows how to carry a team on her back and always be a threat up top. It’s hard to get her out the game even though I know she’s tired after playing two days in a row. We rely on her to give us all the minutes she can and she did exceptional, especially to put the pressure on herself to get that last PK.”

“It’s an honor,” Grimsley said of the note. “Individual honors are incredible to get on a team sport, but today was incredible. It was a team effort all around. Our work ethic and dedication to each other today was outstanding. We were very positive the whole game and deserved to win. I think that showed. I wish people could have seen it. That individual honor was incredible. She’s held that for a long time and it’s awesome to tie her. It would be great to pass it, but the only thing right now is to win Sunday, bring Columbia another ring and to host the NCAA Tournament.”

The game marks the third straight SEC Tournament game to go to a penalty kick shootout for South Carolina. The Gamecocks defeated LSU (8-7) in last year’s title match before advancing past Kentucky last night by a 3-2 margin. The Gamecocks are now 3-7-4 all-time in the SEC Tournament, and all four draws were won by the Gamecocks in penalty kicks (Vanderbilt in 2006 was the other).

LSU tied the match in the 71st minute after Addie Eggleston beat a Carolina defender over the top and crossed it to Carlie Banks in the box for the tap in. It was LSU’s second shot of the second half after pressing the Gamecocks for a majority of the period.

Having gone to penalty kicks just one night before, the same five takers went to the mark for the Gamecocks, and four out of five converted. Brittiny Rhoades, Kortney Rhoades and Kelsey Barr put the Gamecocks in position to win it at 3-3 after Patton was able to save a penalty kick for the second straight night. After the final Tiger sailed her shot high, Grimsley scored the winning kick again to send Carolina into the title match.

South Carolina will play either Florida or Georgia in the final on Sunday at 3 p.m. (ET). The Gators and Bulldogs are the only two teams to defeat South Carolina in the SEC regular season. That final match will be broadcast live on ESPNU with Sam Gore and Cat Whitehill making the call.