Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina junior forward Brooke Jacobs scored her sixth goal of the year in the 36th minute of play and junior goalkeeper Mollie Patton came up with a diving save near the end of regulation in the 90th minute as the Gamecocks defeated Rutgers 1-0 on Sunday afternoon in front of 2,724 fans at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks improve to 19-3-2 and advance to the Round of 16 while Rutgers ends its season with a 14-4-4 record. South Carolina will face Wake Forest in the Round of 16. Site and game time is to be determined. Sunday afternoon's win also marked head coach Shelley Smith's 100th career victory.

The match was played even between South Carolina and Rutgers until 35:36 when Carolina grabbed the one-goal advantage with Jacobs finding the back of the net. On the score, Gamecock midfielder Christine Watts controlled a ball played into the box. Despite a Rutgers defender, Watts created an opportunity and connected with Jacobs, who on the touch, got a good look from six yards out to drill a shot past Rutgers keeper Erin Guthrie and off the inside of the left post into the net putting the Gamecocks ahead by a goal. Jacobs has now scored in three consecutive NCAA matches. Jacobs had a goal vs. William & Mary in 2008 and scored last Friday evening in the victory over Davidson. Assists on the score were awarded to Watts and Maria Petroni.

Rutgers fought to the end though and came as close as possible in the 90th minute off a corner kick. Up from her goalkeeper position, Guthrie floated a ball into the penalty area that saw Scarlet Knights forward Rheanne Sleiman head on directly and toward the goal, only to have Patton come up with diving save to end the match and preserve a Gamecock victory.

South Carolina finished with an 11-9 advantage in shots over Rutgers including an 8-6 edge in the second half. Guthrie finished with five saves while Patton made three for the Gamecocks. The shutout for Patton was her 15th of the season and 22nd of her career.

Jacobs' score highlighted a first half that saw both teams credited with three shots. Most the play for the first half was in the middle portion of the field with neither team registering many opportunities. Rutgers created the first dangerous chance in the fifth minute as Karla Schacher got in off the give and go and had a 1-v1 opportunity from eight yards out only to be denied by Gamecock goalkeeper Mollie Patton. Schacher would get a second shot off in the ninth minute of action from 20 yards out with Patton again coming up with a diving save for the Gamecocks. Samantha Diaz-Matosas almost put the Gamecocks ahead in the 17th minute as a her shot from down the left side near the end line bended into the goal and went off the far post for Carolina's first shot of the afternoon. Diaz-Matosas got her second shot on net in the 21st minute as she took a touch and blasted a ball from 12 yards out that went above the cross bar.

The second half saw both teams more aggressive and offensive as Schacher tallied her third shot of the match to open the second half at the 49th minute that would be too high and over the crossbar. Carolina came close to a second goal in the 57th minute as a free kick by Kim Miller sailed into the box with Guthrie saving it on line for Rutgers. Rutgers gained a free kick in the 65th minute that Julie Lancos sailed into the box. The free kick was blocked and cleared by Gamecock defender Blakely Mattern.

Kayla Grimsley almost had a score in the 79th minute as Lindsay Small found her on a run into the box. A header by Grimsley went just wide right of the goal post. Samantha Diaz-Matosas would register a shot in the next minute then with Guthrie coming up with her second save of the match. Diaz-Matosas also added another shot to her tally in the 82nd minute that Guthrie made another save on. Caitlin Conway would get a look in the 86th minute for Rutgers but her shot was high and wide off frame. Diaz-Matosas had one more opportunity in the 87th minute that Guthrie made a diving save on. It would be Rutgers that would get the final attempt as Sleiman headed on that last opportunity at 89:38 with Patton denying her shot and helping lift Carolina to the victory.

Diaz-Matosas had a team-high six shots for Carolina including four on goal. Schacher and Sleiman each finished with three for Rutgers.