Sept. 16, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Senior Brooke Jacobs scored six minutes into the match and Kayla Grimsley notched her fifth assist of the year, but No. 23 Minnesota rebounded with three unanswered goals to hand No. 20 South Carolina (5-2-1) a rare home loss Thursday night at Stone Stadium.
Jacobs scored courtesy of assists by Grimsley and junior Maria Petroni at 5:56 to put the Gamecocks ahead early, but Allie Phillips, Josie Solie and Tamara Strahota each scored later in the first half to keep the Golden Gophers (7-1-1) unbeaten in their last eight matches. Phillips scored the first goal at 10:25 to tie the match off a rebound from Steph Brandt's shot. Solie (32:49) and Strahota (35:51) each tallied goals off corner kicks by Kylie Kallman to put Minnesota ahead for good. Grimsley's assist for South Carolina leaves her just one shy of setting the junior record for assists in a season after only eight games. The MAC Hermann Trophy candidate already has the freshmen and sophomore records for assists at South Carolina.
"For Brooke to finish, for her it's something that's gotten away from her," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "She's had chances but hasn't had the opportunity to finish. It's nice for her to get on the board. It's a huge lift for us and for break. She'll carry that through the season. We were happy to go up a goal, but unfortunately we couldn't finish the game out."
The Gamecock defense allowed three goals in a game for only the fifth time since the 2006 season, an average of once a year for a backline that leads the SEC this season and has finished as one of the SEC's top two each of the last three years.
"Half this team came from a year where we went 10-0 team to start the season," Smith said. "They didn't have to go through a lot of adversity. They had it rolling. What we're doing now is we have a lot of new players and players that went through a year where they didn't lose often, so this is a great test for us. We'll put ourselves in front of the top opponents and that's what we'll get out of it. We're going to win some and we're going to lose some. The only thing we'll make sure we do is grow from this game. I have confidence. We turned the game around between the two halves."
It was a tale of two halves for the Gamecocks as the team came out cold after scoring the early goal. Minnesota was able to control possession and keep pressure on the Carolina backline for the final 40 minutes of the half and ended with an 8-3 shot advantage at the break.
Down 3-1 at halftime, Smith's team came out with a force but were not able to find the back of the net despite earning an 11-3 shot advantage in the second stanza. Disheartening for the Gamecocks were the looks that were denied in every way possible. Danielle Au played a ball to a streaking Petroni in the 54th minute that saw the junior's shot slip past keeper Cat Parkhill but hit the far post and bounce out. Just six minutes later, Petroni finds herself on another breakaway that ended in misfortune. After her touch on the ball went too far, allowing Parkhill to dive over it, the ball seemed to bounce loose from her grasp with Petroni there to tap the ball into the net for a 3-2 deficit with 30 minutes to play. However, the keeper ruled that possession was held by the keeper and forced out by Petroni, nullifying the goal.
Jacobs looked to add to her tally in the 65th with a shot from 20-yards out that went through the legs of the defender but missed the bottom 90 of the net by four inches. Less than a minute later, Au and Jacobs both had shots in the '18 that were saved by Parkhill.
Grimsley was able to get one final shot off for the Gamecocks in the final 30 seconds with a strike that beat the keeper off her line but was cleared out of danger by a defender playing back to secure the margin of victory.
"We didn't do a great job on those (corner kicks)," Smith said of Minnesota's second and third goals. "That was our fault as a team. We need to be better on those. We have been and we can be, so that's the disappointing part. The team knows that, but they'll bounce back and make sure they take care of business the next time they're in that position."
South Carolina hits the road for the first time in a month when the team takes on No. 22 Wake Forest in a Sunday afternoon match. The Gamecocks and Demon Deacons will hit the field at 1 p.m. at Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
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