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Sept. 20, 2007

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
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Coverage on ACC Select

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The seventh-ranked South Carolina women’s soccer team travels upstate to take on 20th-ranked Clemson in the 13th edition of the in-state rivalry Friday at 7:30 p.m at Riggs Field. The match marks the first time that both teams enter the game ranked and will be webcast on ACC Select, available for a single-event charge of $4.99.

The home team has won that past four meetings between the Gamecocks and Tigers, with Carolina claiming a 1-0 victory last season at Stone Stadium. Carolina (7-0-0) is seeking its first victory at Clemson (5-1-0).

The Gamecocks enter the contest as one of four teams with a perfect record, marking no ties or losses. Carolina will also put its home unbeaten streak to test Sunday when they conclude non-conference play with a game against Marshall. The meeting will be the first against the Thundering Herd and will kickoff at 1 p.m. at Stone Stadium.

South Carolina opens conference play with a Thursday, Sept. 27 date at Tennessee. The game, slated for 7 p.m., will be broadcast on national television on the Fox Soccer channel. The Gamecocks then travel to Athens, Ga., for a 2 p.m. game against the Georgia Bulldogs. Carolina defeated Georgia, 2-1, last season and tied the No. 16 Lady Vols, 0-0.

Clemson suffered a blow when junior Julie Bolt received a red card in Sunday’s loss to Charlotte. Bolt will miss Friday’s game, but the Tigers have the reliable foot of Molly Franklin to lead them. Franklin currently leads the nation in assists per game (1.33), while goalkeeper Ashley Phillips patrols the net with a 0.95 save percentage which ranks ninth in the nation.

Marshall will field a young team with five freshman and three sophomore starters. The Thundering Herd went 5-11-1 last season. Marshall is led by Kassie Hollman with two goals and three assists for seven points. Molly Snead also has two goals for the Herd. Goalkeeper Liz Orton sports a 1-2-0 record with one shutout, seven goals against and 28 saves in 470:00 minutes played.

South Carolina is one of four teams with a perfect record. At 7-0-0, Carolina joins North Texas (6-0-0), Stanford (6-0-0) and Marquette (7-0-0) as teams with a 1.000 win percentage.

The Gamecocks carry a 13-match unbeaten streak at Stone Stadium. South Carolina went 8-0-3 in Columbia last season, the first time that the Gamecocks went an entire season without a loss at Stone Stadium. The streak includes dates with nationally ranked Tennessee and Florida. The Gamecocks have outscored opponents by an average of 2.5-0.5 points during the streak.

The South Carolina defense has proven to be one of the toughest to attack this season, led by goalkeeper Lindsay Thorstenson and starters Kimmy Gillespie, Blakely Mattern and Brittiny Rhoades. Over the past three games, Carolina has held each team without a shot for an entire half. Winthrop was held without a shot throughout the entire second half, and the streak continued to 90 minutes as Charlotte was held without one in the first half of Friday’s game. The Gamecocks then held Furman without a shot in the opening 45 minutes of Sunday’s game. The Gamecocks have shutout the opponent in four consecutive games and five games this season.

Sophomore defender Blakely Mattern was named to the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week Wed., becoming the second Gamecock to earn the honor in the first three weeks of the season. Mattern was a key cog in helping the 10th-ranked Gamecocks record three shutouts last week. In all three games, the Carolina defense held the opponent without a shot for an entire half – Winthrop in the second half, Charlotte in the first half and Furman in the first half. With Mattern patrolling the center, the Gamecocks gave up only 13 shots in three games, including holding Winthrop to two shots and Furman to one shot. Mattern recorded an assist in wins over Charlotte and Furman at the Carolinas’ Cup, and her efforts earned her All-Tournament team honors for the second consecutive week.

Redshirt-sophomore Amanda Dabbenigno tallied her first points as a Gamecock in scoring the game-winning goal against Furman last Sunday. “Dabba” redshirted her first year and played sparingly last season while recovering from a knee injury.

South Carolina will face four opponents for the first time in 2007, including this week’s opponent Marshall. The Gamecocks have already competed against East Tennessee State, UC Davis and Winthrop this season, posting a 3-0 record in those games.