South Carolina Defeats Louisville 3-0 At Cardinal Classic
Sept. 4, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - South Carolina scored two first half goals for the third consecutive game and added a third in the final seconds to defeat Louisville 3-0 at the Courtyard by Marriott Cardinal Classic held at Cardinal Park. With their third shutout win to open the season, the Gamecocks improve to 3-0 while the Cardinals fall to 1-2.
Senior Lindsay Small scored her first goal of the season at 27:09 for the game winner. Kim Miller struck a corner kick to the far end of the box and connected with Small's head for the score. Freshman Christine Watts kept Carolina's two-goal streak alive with an unassisted shot at 43:52 to give the Gamecocks the 2-0 lead just before the half. The score marked the third consecutive game that South Carolina has taken a 2-0 lead into the half, and extends to four games if the exhibition victory over the Mexican National Team is included.
Sophomore Kayla Grimsley notched the final goal with nine seconds remaining courtesy of a Samantha Diaz-Matosas assist for the 3-0 win. A Preseason All-SEC selection, Grimsley has scored in every game this season.
"I'm extremely proud," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "The first 20 minutes we came out very well. Early goals help going into halftime. Somehow that has been our trend, and it helps going in to the next half (to be up 2-0). Louisville is a great team, and for us to go on the road and win says a lot about where we are as a program."
Redshirt junior Mollie Patton registered six saves in the first meeting between the two teams. The shutout was her third of the season and 10th in her 25-game career, moving her into sole possession of third on place on the South Carolina all-time shutout list.
It was clear from the onset of the match that the Gamecocks were prepared to attack the Cardinals early and often. The Gamecock action began in the 16th minute when a Kim Miller corner kick found Blakely Mattern's head for a shot that was nullified by a foul call. The best early look came in the 24th minute after a Diaz-Matosas clearance reached Grimsley in a sprint with a Louisville defender, but the keeper was able to save the shot to end the threat.
Three minutes later, another corner kick by Miller found Small for the 1-0 lead before Watts's goal in the 44th gave the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead heading into the half.
Jacobs came close to making the score 3-0 in the 55th minute after scoring a goal off a pass from Watts, but the score was called back due to an offsides call. Sensing the game getting out of hand on their home field, Louisville began pressing the Gamecocks and earned their first corner kick of the game in the 60th minute. The ball found a head and went into the net, but the whistle blew ahead of the opportunity after the attacker pushed a Gamecock defender to get into position.
Patton got her toughest workout in the 86th when Giselle Mangal found herself alone in front of Patton two yards out, but her strike was saved by the Gamecock keeper to preserve the shutout.
"Our midfield battled tonight," Smith said. "They worked hard. They played very hard on the defensive end and ran out on offense. Lindsay Small showed that off the corner and Christine did well. The goal scorers in the midfield, giving us that lift has been huge. Their work rate tonight makes a difference. It was a true team effort."
South Carolina returns to the pitch Sunday in an 11 a.m. tilt with Cincinnati. The Bearcats defeated St. Louis 1-0 in the first game of the tournament Friday.