Kirk, Monteiro Lead No. 20 USC Past Kentucky, 2-0|
Oct. 5, 2007
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Danila Monteiro registered the game-winning assist and added an insurance goal as the No. 20 South Carolina women's soccer team shutout Kentucky, 2-0, Friday night Carolina's SEC home opener at Stone Stadium. Ashley Kirk scored the game-winning goal in the 18th minute to lead Carolina in front of 676 fans to its first victory over the Wildcats since 2003.
With the win, the Gamecocks (9-3-0, 1-2-0 SEC) extend their home-unbeaten streak to 15 matches dating back to the beginning of the 2006 season. The loss drops Kentucky to 6-3-2 and 0-3-0 in SEC play.
The Gamecocks got on the board when Monteiro fielded a misplayed ball and hit a long pass to a streaking Mary Worthen on the left sideline, who shot a perfect cross to an open Kirk in front of the net for the score inside the right post. The goal in the 18th minute was the second of the season for Kirk and goes down as the third assist of the season for Monteiro and first for Worthen.
Monteiro added the final score of the match at 81:21 when she was played a beautiful pass from Erin Sullivan in the box for a goal that just sailed past Wildcat goalkeeper Sydney Hiance.
"We did a great job to get in the box tonight, finish and have some good looks," head coach Shelley Smith said. "Kim Miller also had a great game for us, playing all 90 minutes and helping control the pace in the middle of the field to get opportunities and keep the ball on our end."
Laura Armstrong recorded the win between the posts for Carolina, improving to 3-0-0 on the season with all three wins as shutouts.
The match was a far cry from Carolina's two overtime losses last week as the Gamecocks never relented on the attack, holding a 20-7 shot advantage and controlling the match throughout the majority of the game. The seven shots were the least allowed by the Carolina defense against an SEC opponent since the Wildcats only managed three in Kentucky's 1-0 victory on Oct. 6 last season.
"We did a great job to come out with energy tonight and jump on Kentucky to get early opportunities," Smith said. "To finish (a game) was outstanding. We had great efforts all around. Give credit to that starting group to start us off right. AT halftime we said we needed to learn from last weekend. It's going to take 45 more minutes of that same intensity and energy. They did just that. They came out and played and finished a team off. We learned and grew as a team from our two overtime losses last weekend."
Carolina came close to adding to their lead twice. Sullivan took a shot from 25 yards out in the 27th minute that bounced off the right post while Worthen's shot in the 49th minute off a set piece from Brittiny Rhoades outside the 18-yard box was saved short of the net.
"Mary came with an intensity we needed," Smith said. "She worked hard and did very good things with the ball. She gave us good scoring opportunities and got around the defense. When we're able to attack Mary on the left, Darcel on the right and someone else out wide, that creates dangerous opportunities for us."
The Wildcats best chance to hit the board came in the 66th minute when Laura Novikoff's shot in front of the Carolina goal knocked off the left post, ending the Wildcat threat.
South Carolina returns to action Sunday when they host Vanderbilt at Stone Stadium. The match is scheduled for 2 p.m. and is part of the THINK PINK promotion. The first 100 fans will receive a Carolina pink t-shirt in support of "Kick for the Cure." In addition, all youth under 18 will receive $1 admission when wearing a team jersey or t-shirt.