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Oct. 14, 2004

Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina women’s soccer team (6-7-2, 0-4-2 SEC) returns to action at home this weekend as the Gamecocks host Ole Miss (6-8, 2-4 SEC) and Mississippi State (5-6-3, 2-3-1 SEC) at Stone Stadium. Friday night’s match vs. the Rebels is set for 7 p.m. with Sunday’s matinee vs. the Bulldogs to kick off at 1 p.m. This weekend’s homestand begins a stretch of home games for Carolina with four of their next five matches in Columbia. USC enters the weekend with a 5-1-1 record at home. Live audio and live Gametracker stats will be available at

“We’ve played well at home and it’s important for us to take advantage of that and come away with some wins as we finish up the conference season,” said USC head coach Shelley Smith. “We have four crucial matches in the next two weeks with three at home. All the teams we are playing are trying to get into the SEC Tournament like we are.”

Last year’s trip to the state of Mississippi clinched Carolina’s spot in the 2003 SEC Tournament as the Gamecocks came away from the road with a 0-0 tie at Ole Miss and a 1-0 victory at Mississippi State.

“I expect a battle with Ole Miss on Friday night,” said Coach Smith. “Last year was a scoreless tie and it should be another good match this year. Mississippi State has had some very good wins this year. We played well in Starkville last year to earn a win and I hope that we can have the same effort at home this year vs. their team. I think every team knows what is on the line and how important a win is.”

In last season’s match in Oxford, USC goalkeeper Elise Matthews made a career-high 18 saves and came away with her sixth shutout of the year as both teams went 110 minutes without scoring a goal. Matthews would earn another shutout at the end of the weekend when USC defeated Mississippi State 1-0 on a game-winning goal by Amanda Thurber in the 81st minute. Off a corner kick from Shelly Hoddeson, Carolina defender Kimmy Criss gained control and on the touch found Thurber, who launched a shot from the top of the 18 to the high right corner beyond the reach of MSU goalkeeper Luisa Marzotto.

South Carolina leads the all-time series with the Rebels 3-1-1 including a 1-0 victory in the last match between both squads in Columbia in the 2001 season. Carolina also is above .500 vs. Mississippi State with a 3-2 edge in the series.