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Nov. 11, 2010

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By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant

South Carolina vs UNC Greensboro | Friday, 7:30 p.m.
07-gametracker-icon-2.gif | Game Notes icon-acrosmall.gif | Tournament Bracket
General Information | NCAA First Round at Charlottesville, Va.
Parking & Ticket Information | Klöckner Stadium

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 20 South Carolina meets No. 10 UNC Greensboro in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament, marking the fourth consecutive year that the Gamecocks have competed in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks (14-5-4) and Spartans (19-1-1) will kickoff Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va. The pod is hosted by No. 8 Virginia, who will take on Lehigh in the other Friday match at 5 p.m.

South Carolina is playing in its fourth consecutive tournament and fifth overall, holding an all-time record of 2-3-1 in NCAA Tournament games. The first bid came in a 2-0 loss at Charlotte in 1998. The current streak began in 2007, Carolina earned an at-large bid with a 14-6-2 record when the Gamecocks played Duke to a 1-1 draw at Athens, Ga. Duke advanced with a 4-1 edge in penalty kicks. In 2008, South Carolina dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to William & Mary at Durham, N.C. South Carolina advanced to the Round of 16 in 2009 with victories against Davidson (4-0) and Rutgers (1-0) before losing to Wake Forest (1-0) on a last-second stunner when the Demon Deacons scored off a corner kick at 89:59.

UNC Greensboro enters the tournament at 19-1-1 riding a 16-match winning streak. The lone blemishes came on an early season trip to Los Angeles with a 0-0 draw against Southern California and a 2-0 loss at Cal State Fullerton. Six Spartans have double-digit points this season with three over the 20-point plateau. Sophomore Tabitha Padgett leads the charge with 10 goals and five assists for 25 points, and freshman Kristen Schmidbauer follows with nine goals and six assists for 24 points. Junior Cat Barnekow is among the nation’s leaders with 14 assists. Junior Kelsey Kearney holds a 0.48 goals against average with 56 saves and 12 shutouts.

The Virginia pod may very well likely be one of this year’s two “Groups of Death”. Only two pods in the entire tournament feature three ranked teams – the Virginia pod (#8 Virginia, #10 UNC Greensboro, #20 South Carolina) and the Notre Dame pod (#7 Notre Dame, #13 Illinois, #22 Southern California). South Carolina-UNCG and Illinois-Southern California are the only matchups of ranked teams in the first round of the tournament.

Junior forward Kayla Grimsley was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and four Gamecocks earned All-SEC honors to cap the most successful SEC season in program history. Grimsley and senior defender Brittiny Rhoades were selected to the First Team All-SEC list, and junior defender Ellen Fahey was selected to the Second Team. Midfielder Danielle Au was picked for the SEC All-Freshman Team, as voted on by league coaches.

THE 10-10-30 CLUB
Junior Kayla Grimsley’s assist against Kentucky makes her the first Gamecock to join the 10-10-30 club. Grimsley has 12 goals and 10 assists for 34 points this season, numbers that had her at the top of the SEC list in goals, points and game winning goals (5) at the end of the regular season. In just her third season, Grimsley is already No. 2 in the South Carolina record books for career goals (33), assists (23) and points (89).

Junior Kayla Grimsley scored a goal against LSU in the semifinal round to give her 34 points on the year, tying the record set by Gamecock legend Jennie Ondo in 1996 (14 goals, 6 assists). One more point will give Grimsley the all-time record for single-season points (12 goals, 10 assists).

Senior Brittiny Rhoades set the South Carolina career record for games played at 93 following the SEC Championship match at Florida. With 91 career games started, she will tie former All-American Blakely Mattern at 92 with a start against UNC Greensboro Friday night.

South Carolina’s backline has now limited 13 of their last 15 opponents to four shots on goal or less, a streak that included eight road games, five home games and 10 of 11 SEC opponents. All 11 teams were also limited to 10 total shots or less with the streak dating back to the road victory at then-No. 22 Wake Forest. All-SEC defenders Brittiny Rhoades (1st Team) and Ellen Fahey (2nd Team) lead the charge.

Two Gamecocks find themselves among the nation’s top 25 in various statistics as we hit the start of the postseason. Junior Kayla Grimsley has proven to be one of the top distributionists in the country at No. 20 (10 assists) in the NCAA in assists. Grimsley is also 12th in the NCAA in points at 34 and No. 22 in goals at 12. Senior goalkeeper Mollie Patton sits No. 15 in the nation in shutouts at 9 despite not earning a solo shutout in a 7-0 win against Mississippi State that saw three goalkeepers play. Patton is also 23rd in the nation in goals against average (0.64).