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Sept. 13, 2007

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The No. 13 South Carolina women’s soccer team travels to Charlotte, N.C., to participate in the Carolinas’ Cup. The tournament, hosted by Charlotte, features South Carolina, Furman and Clemson. The Gamecocks compete against Charlotte Friday at 7:30 p.m. and conclude with Furman Sunday at 12 noon.

On playing Charlotte and Furman
“We know about them because we’ve played them in the past. They’re similar teams. We played them both last year. We know players from both teams since Furman is in-state and Charlotte has players (from South Carolina). There’s a lot of in-state talent and local talent.”

On playing three games in five days
“We’re prepared. We have three games this week and it can get tiring. We’re going to have to rely on a lot of minutes from everyone. We won last weekend (at the UCF Tournament) because we got great minutes on Sunday from palyers that didn’t get as much time on Friday. They came in, did the job we needed them to do and helped us win the game.”

On players stepping up
Shannon Bigbie’s goal for example and Leah (Loguidice) up top did a nice job for us last weekend. Kacie Brewer went in on the left side and did a great job to keep things alive. This team has been so strong and is strong because whatever time someone is called upon and whatever role they play, when they’re asked to perform they really do what they need to do for the team.”

South Carolina travels to in-state rival Clemson next Friday at 7:30 p.m. The game in Clemson will mark the first time that both teams are ranked when competing against each other. The Gamecocks then return to Stone Stadium Sunday to compete against Marshall in the final non-conference match of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Charlotte hosts the third Carolinas’ Cup and carries a 2-2 record into the weekend and a 12 game home unbeaten streak. The 49ers won their first two contests by a combined 8-0 margin (Citadel, East Carolina), but have been shutout in each of their past two contests against Georgia (2-0) and Arizona State (1-0). Carolina will see a familiar face on the 49ers sideline in former Gamecock Sara Jane Harris. Harris, a senior from Inman, S.C., transfered to Charlotte from USC two seasons ago. Whitney Weinraub earned Atlantic 10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors after scoring two goals in the opening week.

Furman enters the tournament with a 4-1-0 record after defeating Columbia College 9-0 Wednesday. The lone loss came at the hands of East Carolina (3-0). The Paladins are led by senior forward Anna Betton with five goals and two assists for 12 points on the season. Senior Katie Tucker has contributed three goals. Furman is led in the net by sophomore Briana da Mota’s 0.80 goals against average and three shutouts.

South Carolina sophomore Blakely Mattern has been named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after her performance in this weekend’s victories against UC Davis and UNLV. The honor marks the second time in as many weeks that a Gamecock earned the recognition as senior goalkeeper Lindsay Thorstenson took home Player of the Week honors the previous week. Mattern earns the honor for the first time in her career after being named the Defensive MVP at the UCF Tournament this weekend. She patrolled the center of the defense and was instrumental in preventing the Aggies and Rebels from getting shots on goal with her headers out the box. Mattern also delivered a key pass in the box that led to Carolina’s lone goal in the 1-0 win against UNLV. Mattern was also named a unanimous pick for the All-Tournament team.

Senior Erin Sullivan got Carolina’s year started on the right foot – or rather the right “head” – as her header 15:20 into the season opener against #1 North Carolina proved to be the game-winner. “Sulli” then hit the equalizer against UC Davis in the 77th minute for her second goal of the season. The Augusta, Ga., native followed up her effort with two goals against Winthrop, one shy of her second hat trick. Sulli scored three goals against The Citadel last season.

Junior transfer Danila Monteiro has made a quick impact in her first season for the Garnet and Black. Noticeable by her yellow shoes in honor of her country Brazil, Monteiro is currently tied for second on the team with three goals and seven points. “Dani” scored two goals against Winthrop on her 21st birthday and leads the team with two gamewinners (ETSU, Winthrop).

Sophomore Shannon Bigbie’s first career goal couldn’t have come at a better time. The midfielder found the back of the net in the 71st minute to clinch a 1-0 victory against UNLV in the UCF Tournament.

Sophomore Kacie Brewer also earned her first points as a Gamecock with an assist to Monica Hogan against Winthrop. A scrappy and fearless player, Brewer’s service to Hogan in the 87th minute increased the lead to 5-0 against the Eagles.

Senior goalkeeper Laura Armstrong earned the start against Winthrop and recorded two saves in the shutout. The performance moved her into a tie for second place on the USC All-Time Goaltending list with nine career shutouts.