Oct. 5, 2003
Columbia, S.C. – Elise Matthews notched her 13th career shutout for a USC record and Shelly Hoddeson scored her fifth goal of the season as the South Carolina women’s soccer team defeated Alabama 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at Stone Stadium. The win improves Carolina to 8-3-2 on the year and 1-0-1 in the SEC. Sunday’s win also extended Carolina’s unbeaten streak to eight games, also a school record, besting the previous mark of seven set in the 2001 season. With the loss, Alabama drops to 7-5 and 0-2 in the SEC.
“We wanted to play to our strengths, get the ball deep and behind them and keep their players out of the air,” said USC head coach Shelley Smith. “We are definitely happy with the start to our season in the SEC and we took advantage of being at home. Now we have to go on the road and maintain our play.”
The match was scoreless up until the last five minutes when Carolina put two past Alabama goalkeeper Laura Lowman. Hoddeson, who leads the team in goals this year, worked her way into the box and got control of a cross from Amanda Thurber. Hoddeson delivered a shot from 10 yards out past Lowman to the right corner as USC took a 1-0 lead at 85:52. The assist for Thurber was her third of the season. Hoddeson nearly missed a goal earlier in the half on a shot that went off the right crossbar from a similar distance.
Just under three minutes later the Gamecocks put the game away as Ashely Williams controlled a tipped ball and got past the Alabama defense to score a breakaway goal at 88:46. The goal for Williams was her first of the season.
Matthews finished the game with two saves and collected her third consecutive shutout and her fifth of the season, the highest season total for Matthews at Carolina. USC held a 10-7 shot advantage on the afternoon with Hoddeson and Williams with two shots apiece to lead the Gamecocks.
“Elise did a great job in goal and made the stops when she needed to,” said Coach Smith. “I thought our team defense was good and we were able to deny them of many offensive chances.”
The Gamecocks return to the road next weekend with a pair of conference matches vs. SEC Eastern Division rivals. USC will face Georgia on Friday evening at 7 p.m. and conclude the road trip on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. vs. Tennessee.