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Sept. 11, 2003

Columbia, S.C. – Following two consecutive wins at home over the weekend, the South Carolina women’s soccer team returns to the road with a trip to the state of Texas and a match on Friday evening vs. No. 5 Texas A&M. Carolina heads into the contest with a 2-2 record while Texas A&M is 3-0 on the year. Friday night’s match is set for 8:30 p.m. ET. Carolina will also face Houston on Sunday afternoon.

“We look go down there and prove ourselves against one of the top teams in the country,” said USC head coach Shelley Smith. “Our players here expect to play against the best and we challenge ourselves and learn from those challenges. We play some of the top teams in the nation just in our own conference, so it’s a great way to prepare for the SEC, play against the top competition and see if we can raise our level of play.”

Last time out, Carolina scored three unanswered goals on Sunday afternoon in a 3-1 win vs. Dartmouth with freshman Shelly Hoddeson scoring two goals and freshman M.A. Foster adding a goal and an assist. The Gamecocks outshot the Big Green 10-5 in the match and were dominant on the offensive side despite the wet conditions on Sunday afternoon. Carolina had found the back of the net five times this year, with four of the five goals coming in the second half of the match. USC scored twice in the second half vs. Charleston Southern and twice in the second half vs. Dartmouth.

“We played better this past weekend,” said Coach Smith. “We’ve been working on moving the ball quicker and I think it worked better against Dartmouth. We connected better as a team.”

The Aggies are the defending Big 12 champion and have made eight consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including the last two seasons in which Texas A&M made the round of eight. The meeting on Friday will be the first match between both schools.

“We have nothing to lose and with a draw or win can really turn some heads,” said Coach Smith. “Texas A&M is very athletic with good speed all around. The goalkeeper is very good. We are going to have to be creative and play to our strengths.”

The Gamecocks return home on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. with a match vs. Davidson and will also be home at Stone Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 21 at 12:30 p.m. vs. N.C. State. The SEC season will open on Friday, Oct. 3 at Stone Stadium vs. the defending SEC champion, the Auburn Tigers.