Oct. 3, 2010
By Miquel Jacobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina senior forward Brooke Jacobs tied the school record for points in a single game as the No. 20 Gamecocks cruised to a 7-0 shutout against Mississippi State in SEC Sunday action on CSS. Jacobs netted the sixth hat trick in Gamecock history with three goals in 14 minutes and added an assist on the game-winning goal to help South Carolina improve to 9-2-2 (3-0-1 SEC).
"It gives us great confidence," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said of the final tally. "We talked a week ago about the fact that we've struggled to score goals. We were frustrated, especially after our opening game at Vanderbilt. To come back like we did against Kentucky and then come home, it's given us so much of a lift. Continuing in SEC play we want to make sure we continue that trend. But we talk about also making sure we take care of business defensively. I think we've done that. Both sides of the play are coming together which is what we were hoping for after a couple of losses earlier on that we learned from and our opening weekend on the road."
Junior forward Kayla Grimsley added two goals and two assists for a career high six points for the MAC Hermann Trophy candidate, while Lolly Holland and Christine Watts added the other goals for the Gamecocks. Watts hit the game-winning goal at 17:44 and tallied two assists to lead a backline that allowed seven shots in two games this weekend. Holland's first half goal marks her third goal in as many games for South Carolina.
"They obviously have been working and working to be a good team up top," Smith said of Grimsley and Jacobs, who connected together on two of Jacobs's goals. "Kayla can put it on herself to finish, but she's so good at setting others up and I know she enjoys that. Brooke did a great job to finish those opportunities today with the hat trick. They clicked and that's what can happen with them when they find each other. I'm proud of the effort they put together up top."
Brittiny Rhoades also registered two assists on the day, and freshman Kelsey Barr grabbed her first career assist as well. Three Gamecocks played in goal with Mollie Patton, Roya Mojarab and Alex Holland combining for the team's SEC-leading ninth shutout of the season.
It was a day of notes for South Carolina as the team ends its SEC home opening weekend with a 10-0 goal advantage in consecutive shutouts against Ole Miss and Mississippi State (7-6-0, 0-4-0 SEC). For the second consecutive Sunday, South Carolina scored four goals in one half of play after netting goals at 17:44 (Watts), 33:05 (Holland), 33:52 (Grimsley) and 38:23 (Jacobs). The scoring continued after the break with goals at 48:48 (Jacobs), 52:18 (Jacobs) and 53:10 (Grimsley). The multiple goal efforts by Jacobs and Grimsley marked the first time since Sept. 12, 2007 that two Gamecocks scored two or more goals in a game (Dani Monteiro and Erin Sullivan).
For the second consecutive game, the South Carolina defense clicked to put together an impressive outing against a conference opponent in a televised game. The Gamecocks allowed seven total shots on the weekend and only one shot on goal combined in the victories against Ole Miss and Mississippi State. After starting the season looking for finishing touches on their opportunities, Smith's team has come out firing in SEC play with a string of 15 straight unanswered goals scored dating back to last Sunday's 5-1 win at Kentucky.
"That's something they expect out of themselves," Smith said of the defensive play over the weekend. "They hold each other accountable out there. They've taken the whole first half of the season to get to this point. They hold that pride out there. Having Mollie (Patton) in goal gives the whole back line confidence, but I'm really glad we could get two other keepers in the game today too. They did a good job to keep the ball out the net."
The nine-point outing for Jacobs distinctively moves the senior up the South Carolina record book for all-time points scored. The Chambersburg, Pa., native has 44 points in her career (15 goals and 14 assists) to jump to eighth all-time ahead of former teammates Blakely Mattern and Darcel Mollon.
South Carolina hits the road next weekend when the team travels to Auburn and Alabama for a pair of away SEC matches. The Gamecocks are unbeaten on the road this season with a 4-0-1 record away from Stone Stadium.
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