Gamecock Soccer Drops Heartbreaker To Kentucky, 1-0
Sept. 30, 2011
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By Miquel Jacobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina conceded a goal with three minutes remaining in the first half to drop a 1-0 decision to Kentucky Friday night at Stone Stadium in the first game of a double-header between the men's and women's teams.
The loss drops South Carolina to 7-5-0 (1-2-0 SEC) while Kentucky improves to 9-2-0 (2-1-0 SEC). One of the most resilient teams in the SEC, the Gamecocks had not dropped two consecutive games - non-conference or SEC play - since back-to-back road losses to then-No. 14 LSU and No. 10 Florida in the 2009 season. Caitlin Landis scored the game-winning goal at 41:34 with a low shot to the far post after Kelsey Hunyadi intercepted the ball yards in front of the '18.
"It was a tale of two halves," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. "Unfortunately we didn't get the goal we needed to come back and tie. We told the team and we all knew that we were disappointed with the first half performance. To give up that type of goal and give a team a chance like that was very disappointing. I knew the team would come back in the second half and play much better, and they did. They did what I knew they could do. We just told ourselves we have to make sure we come out like that to start the game and not let teams in. It hurt us tonight but we'll be ready for the game Sunday."
South Carolina admittedly came out flat in the first half as Kentucky played to a 7-3 edge in shots through 45 minutes. In contrast, the second half belonged to the Gamecocks with the team out-shooting the Wildcats 11-5 in the second frame, but Carolina could not equalize on their five shots on goal to give them their second loss at Stone Stadium. It is the first time South Carolina has dropped back-to-back home games at "The Graveyard" since the 2005 season.
Kentucky pressured South Carolina early in the first half with Danielle Krohn testing Gamecock goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo with a shot from six yards out that the keeper kick-saved out, her second such reflexive move with her feet in as many games. South Carolina began to string together long stretches of possession before Kentucky settled down their tempo and began controlling the run of play leading up to Landis's goal minutes before the break.
The Gamecocks brought waves of pressure against the Wildcats to start the second half with five shots testing Kentucky's Kayla Price in the opening 12 minutes of the half. Senior Kayla Grimsley nearly equalized in the 55th with a header that went inches wide of the net to force Kentucky into mass substitutions to calm down play.
South Carolina's first corner kick of the night in the 75th minute nearly led up to the equalizer with an Ellen Fahey header, but Price denied the strike with a stunning diving save that brought the crowd to its feet.
"We need to see how we bounce back," Smith said. "We've done it all year and we did it tonight in the second half. I know we'll be fired up to play at home. Sunday's are difficult games. We are fighting to continue to play for postseason. Every point is crucial in the SEC. We're going to fight and make sure we get it done on Sunday."
South Carolina hosts Vanderbilt Sunday in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPNU. Kickoff between the Gamecocks and Commodores is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Stone Stadium.