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Aug. 21, 2011

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By Miquel Jacobs
Assistant Media Relations Director

DURHAM, N.C. – No. 12 Duke (2-0) handed No. 21 South Carolina (1-1) its first loss of the season by a 2-0 score in a physical match at Koskinen Stadium in Durham that saw the teams combine for 23 fouls.

The Blue Devils had goals by Nicole Lipp and Kaitlin Kerr to hand the Gamecocks their first regular season non-conference shutout on the road since a 1-0 loss at Western Carolina on Sept. 21, 2008.

Lipp scored in the eighth minute with a ball that ricocheted off the right post and into the goal, and Kerr’s score came in the 65th minute with a long shot on a counter possession. The teams each had six shots on goal, but the two converted by Duke made all of the difference Sunday afternoon under the sun.

“It was a step forward that we need to get to before we start conference play,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “This is the kind of game we want on our schedule to challenge ourselves. We played a great Duke team. They’re a tremendous team. We came out and battled and put a better team out in the second half. The first half we were hesitant and didn’t put enough pressure on Duke. Credit to them to find a chance from range. I felt we adjusted at halftime and came out and played a better half. We’re going to learn from this. It was a good weekend overall for our road trip to get a lot of players into the game and into new positions.”

South Carolina had the first attempt of the day four minutes in when Danielle Au headed a ball by Andie Romness onto frame, but the shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Duke quickly countered with a cross by Mollie Pathman that sailed high onto the far post before bouncing out, an early lucky break for the Gamecocks. The next attempt wouldn’t be as fortunate as Nicole Lipp’s rocket from 25 yards also hit the right post, but this time the ball ricocheted into the net for the early 1-0 lead eight minutes into the match.

A substitution in the 16th minute quickly brought more life to the Gamecock side with Carolina winning possession and earning a corner kick. In the 23rd, Kayla Grimsley rips her defender and nearly wins a penalty kick after going down in the box, but the instance was ruled inadvertent to end the Gamecock threat. Less than a minute later, Duke’s Laura Weinberg is gifted a shot from six yards out but fails to convert to keep the score 1-0.

They physical first half grew to a peak in the final six minutes of the opening half. Liz Sinclair took a hard fall after a hit in the air, resulting in a free kick that nearly ended in a Duke own goal. On the Duke attacking end, goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo then took a hit while going for a ball in the air, and the ensuing corner kick saw Grimsley taken down and in need of treatment after a collision. The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead into the break with a 13-2 edge in shots and 4-2 edge in shots on goal.

An even start to the second half saw Carolina grab two opportunities to equalize in the 59th. Au beat the keeper to the ball on the flank before turning around to attempt a shot, but Campbell rebounded to save it. Moments later, Grimsley and Taylor Leach led a 2v2 attack that was thwarted at the top of the 18′ to end the threat.

In a matter of seconds, the Gamecocks went from hopefully equalizer to down two goals. Grimsley and Kortney Rhoades led a 2v1 attack that saw Rhoades’s shot on goal foot saved by the goalkeeper to prevent the tying score. In the immediate counter, Duke’s Kaitlin Kerr hit a shot from 20 yards into the upper corner of the net to make it 2-0 Blue Devils.

Lolly Holland took a shot in front of the mouth of the goal in the 67th that was saved point blank by Campbell. Duke was limited to just two shots on goal in the second half, but Carolina couldn’t get one to cross as the score ended 2-0.

South Carolina continues its season opening road swing next weekend when the team travels to the state of Arizona to take on Arizona and Arizona State. The Gamecocks and Wildcats will kick off at 10 p.m. (ET) Friday night.