No. 20 South Carolina Drops First Match of the Season, 1-0
Sept. 21, 2008
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - No. 20 South Carolina dropped its first match of the season Sunday afternoon in a physical 1-0 game against Western Carolina at the Catamount Athletic Complex in Cullowhee, N.C. The loss ends Carolina's program best eight-game unbeaten streak as they drop to 6-1-2 on the year. The home team improved to 3-5-0 in the first meeting between Western Carolina and South Carolina.
Western Carolina's Arlan Whittle scored the lone goal of the match in the 64th minute when she lined a corner kick that deflected into the goal in what amounted as the Catamounts' third shot of the contest.
Playing in the non-conference finale, the Gamecocks came inches within scoring the third fastest goal in program history when a Catamount defensive mis-clear sent the ball to Lindsay Small whose shot hit the left post. Less than a minute later the Gamecock offense suffered a severe blow when senior Danila Monteiro went to the ground following a foul from the back just 2:02 into the game. The lone senior on the team, Monteiro left the field with a leg injury and did not return to the match, changing the dynamic of the with forward Brooke Jacobs also missing the match after suffering a leg injury in Friday's 4-0 victory against East Tennessee State.
The two sides spent the majority of the remaining minutes of the half in a midfield battle with the Gamecocks going into the half carrying a 3-1 advantage in shots. Carolina began the second half using a modified look with Brittiny Rhoades playing up top, Bonny Lepley in the midfield and Idana DeCecco at defender while the Gamecocks continued looking for a way to attack the Catamounts without Jacobs and Monteiro. Shannon Bigbie was able to get a shot on frame in the 54th minute that was saved by the Catamount keeper before Whittle put Western Carolina up 10 minutes later with her goal. The 1-0 deficit marks the first time this season that South Carolina gave up the first goal of a game.
Following the goal, South Carolina attempted six of their 11 shots in the final 22 minutes of the match with three strong opportunities that came close to giving the team the equalizer. Maria Petroni's shot in the box in the 69th was saved by the keeper to end the first Carolina threat. The next best opportunity wouldn't come until the 82nd minute when Kayla Grimsley took the ball at midfield and split the defenders with a pass to Small whose shot went just high of the net. The Gamecocks then gave the Catamounts a scare in the 84th with two shots in the 18' - the first by Lolly Holland was blocked and the follow-up by Kim Miller went high.
Western Carolina ended the game with 20 fouls to Carolina eight although the number could have been double that amount both ways. The Gamecocks finished with an 11-5 shot advantage and 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
South Carolina opens conference play Friday night when they host Tennessee at 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks will then welcome Georgia in a 2 p.m. match on Sunday.