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Sept. 6, 2007

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The No. 21 South Carolina women’s soccer team travels to Orlando, Fla., this weekend to participate in the UCF Tournament. The Gamecocks open the slate against UC Davis Friday at 5 p.m. before concluding with a match against UNLV Sunday at 11 a.m. Carolina head coach Shelley Smith enters the weekend with 99 career victories.

On playing UC Davis
“Right now we’re focusing on UC Davis. You get as much information as you can and you work with it, but obviously at the beginning of the season you’re still concentrating on what you’re doing as well. We know we can face any opponent if we take care of the things we need to do. That’s what we’re focusing on with each game. We want to make sure the girls focus on their games and how to improve on their performance.”

On being ranked in the four polls
“We’re happy about it and are obviously excited to have the respect, which is something we have struggled to achieve when we know that we’re better than what some give us credit for. Now we’ve put ourselves out there and had a great result. Now you have to focus on continuing to play. We’re not just happy with that opening weekend; the season is a long way to go. We have to keep that confidence going but know that we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

On learning about the team
“Going into this weekend, we’ve been able to play alot of people. We’ve gotten through a weekend of a tremendous challenge with a victory, and we also had a game where we were able to come out and see more. It was kind of an experiment with the lineup and combinations, so I think that we’re much more prepared going into this weekend.”

South Carolina returns home Wednesday to compete against Marshall at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks will look to extend their 12 game home unbeaten streak, dating back to August 31, 2006.

UC Davis enters its first season as an NCAA Divison I team after going through a four-year reclassification process to join the Big West Conference. The Aggies are off to the best start in school history (2-0). Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Sara Peters earned Big West Player of the Week honors after posting a pair of shutout victories over Kent State and Fresno State.

South Carolina and UNLV will face off for the second time in Sunday’s 11 a.m. match. The Gamecocks and Rebels battled to a 1-1 tie in 2001. The Rebels, who return 10 starters from last season’s NCAA Tournament team, are led by senior forward Katie Carney, who earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week and Soccer America Team of the Week honors following her two goal, one assist weekend. Carney leads the Mountain West with five points. Sophomore goalkeeper Alicia Lugo picked up Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week honors after collecting 13 saves with a 0.50 GAA.

With the victory against East Tennessee State, South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith increased her overall coaching record to 99-84-17, standing just one win shy of the 100-win plateau. She currently leads the all-time USC coaching list with 58 victories at the helm of the Carolina program.

Senior Darcel Mollon returns to the squad after redshirting the 2006 season with an injury. Mollon led the team in scoring in 2005 with 14 points and is one of USC’s most dynamic playmakers. The Trinidad National Team member recorded two goals in the first seven minutes against ETSU, quickly reclaiming the team lead in goals and tying Erin Sullivan for most points with four.

The University of South Carolina women’s soccer team received its highest rankings in school history this week after knocking off then-No. 1 North Carolina and ETSU this past weekend. The Gamecocks (2-0) peaked at No. 13 in the Soccer America poll, earned its highest ranking ever in the Soccer Buzz poll at No. 21 and entered the NSCAA/adidas Coaches poll at No. 22. Carolina also earned a No. 19 ranking in the Soccer Times poll.

Senior goalkeeper Lindsay Thorstenson picked up every award possible after earning the victories over North Carolina and East Tennessee State. “T” has been named the Soccer America and NSCAA National Player of the Week, in addition to being named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week. It is the first time that a Gamecock has earned a national Player of the Week honor. She also earned a spot on the Soccer America and Soccer Buzz Teams of the Week.