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Nov. 6, 2003

Orange Beach, Alabama – Ali Cristoph’s penalty kick at 64:25 was enough to lift the Tennessee Lady Vols to a 1-0 win over the South Carolina women’s soccer team in the first match of the SEC Tournament. The loss eliminates the Gamecocks from the SEC Tournament with Carolina 10-8-3 on the 2003 season. Senior goalkeeper Elise Matthews finished with nine saves on the afternoon in goal for the Gamecocks.

“It’s definitely a tough way to lose,” said USC head coach Shelley Smith. “It’s an unfortunate call and in a situation like that it’s the referee’s decision, but a lot of times it could have gone the other way. It’s unfortunate to give up that goal. Tennessee had some good chances but I think we were able to stay alive and give ourselves some chances. It was hard fought. Tennessee is a very good team and we knew it was going to be a battle. We fought to put ourselves in position to win this game. We had to battle back and unfortunately we didn’t get the goal we needed. We had been in this situation before against Tennessee so it wasn’t something that we hadn’t seen before.”

Tennessee’s penalty kick came off a counter attack as Lyndsey Patterson raced into the box on a run off a long feed from Keeley Dowling. As Patterson and Carolina defender Alison Jarrow battled for the ball, a foul was called on Jarrow resulting in the penalty kick for the Lady Volunteers. Cristoph knocked the penalty kick in for a goal to the right side of the net. Carolina came close to tying the match with 15 minutes remaining as Shelly Hoddeson broke to the end line and past a Tennessee defender. Hoddeson knocked a shot from 10 yards out that V. Phillips-Bosshart was able to make a diving save on to secure Tennessee the victory.

The first half saw Tennessee control the majority of play on the offensive end. Carolina goalkeeper Elise Matthews stood strong between the posts though, making seven saves on the half and keeping the Lady Vols off the scoreboard. In the 22nd minute, the Lady Vols came up with two shots as Ali Cristoph knocked a shot that Matthews dove and deflected wide of the net and Kirstin McGrath came within eight yards of the goal only to have her shot go wide left of the net.

Thursday afternoon’s match was the 12th match this season decided by one goal for the Gamecocks. USC is 5-7 in matches decided by one goal this year.