No. 14 South Carolina's seven-match unbeaten streak came to an end Friday night as the Gamecocks (11-3-2, 5-1-1 SEC) dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 20 Georgia (9-2-4, 4-0-3 SEC) at Stone Stadium.
Despite the loss, South Carolina remains atop the SEC standings with 16 points courtesy of a tiebreaker with Florida.
The match was the first for South Carolina without injured senior forward Brooke Jacobs (6 goals, 4 assists, 16 points) since she missed a start against Western Carolina in 2008. Jacobs has only missed two games since the 2008 season - a span of 62 games for Carolina - with the Gamecocks dropping both of those contests by identical 1-0 scores.
"It definitely makes a difference," South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said of missing Jacobs Friday night, who had four goals in South Carolina's last three games. "It's a test for us that we need to be better at and step up. Players are going to be injured, and we need to make sure we step up and play no matter. Brooke's getting better and we look forward to having her back. It's going to make a difference for us for sure, but regardless we need to play as a team, bring that urgency and bring our `A' game."
Georgia freshman Alexa Newfield scored the game's lone goal just 3:13 into the match with a rocket from the top of the '18 after making her way through the Gamecock defense. The goal was all the Bulldogs would need despite the Gamecocks holding a 13-9 edge in shots (6-4 shots on goal).
Georgia is the eighth consecutive team that South Carolina's backline has limited to four shots on goal or less, including all seven SEC opponents this year, but for the first time since the conference opener South Carolina was not able to get the ball across the frame.
The Gamecocks outscored SEC opponents 20-3 in the last five games.
"We didn't get out," Smith said of the early goal. "(Newfield's) a great player. She's one of their best players. We knew she was going to be a threat. It was not a good job by us defensively. We have to win balls in the middle and keep the play in front of us."
South Carolina returns to action Sunday afternoon for a nationally televised match against Tennessee at 3 p.m. The game between the Gamecocks and Lady Vols will air live on ESPNU.
VOLLEYBALL: Georgia tops USC
The Gamecocks (4-14, 1-7 SEC) fell to Georgia (11-9, 3-6 SEC) 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23 in a four-set match on Friday night at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
South Carolina, playing with a short bench due to maladies affecting two starters, got big outings from its outside hitters.
Freshman Juliette Thévenin led the squad with 14 kills while hitting a career-best .303, while sophomore Christina Glover posted 10 kills, her second double-digit kill effort of the season. Both added eight digs, while Glover had a career-best four blocks, including one solo.
South Carolina hosts Auburn on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in the Volleyball Competition Facility.