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Oct. 14, 2007

Box Score

OXFORD, Miss.Darcel Mollon and Kim Miller scored goals 33 seconds apart in the game’s opening minutes as the No. 28 South Carolina women’s soccer team defeated Ole Miss 3-1 Sunday at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. Mollon finished the day with her third two-goal game of the season while the score was the first career for Miller as Carolina had its first three-goal game since defeating Marshall in the non-conference finale.

“It’s been frustrating,” head coach Shelley Smith said. “The longer you go without a goal, the more frustrating it gets. This group deserves better than what has come out so far in SEC play. To come out and score early with a three-point lead at halftime gave us a boost of confidence. We came out ready to play. SEC games are hard on the road, especially on Sunday’s, and these guys played hard and dug deep. They knew they had to get a win and I’m really proud of the effort.”

With the win, the Gamecocks improve to 10-4-1 overall and 2-3-1 in conference play. The loss drops the Rebels to 6-5-3 overall and 3-2-1 in conference play. Carolina takes a 4-3-2 lead in the overall series against Ole Miss and defeats the Rebels at Oxford for the first time since a 7-1 victory in 1996.

Mollon opened the scoring at the 4:31 mark when she took the ball at midfield and outran the defense for a shot that slid inside the left post. The Gamecocks wasted no time moving the ball up field again with Miller taking a service from freshman Brittiny Rhoades inside the box for a flicker into the right side of the net 5:04 into the match. The assist marked the first collegiate point for Rhoades.

“Kim (Miller) has been solid for us and very consistent,” Smith said. “She plays about 90 minutes for us pretty much every game. Today she was determined. You saw her running out of midfield, and that piece of her game hasn’t been as involved but she did a great job to come out today, see her opportunity and take it.”

Carolina came close to a third score twice in the following 10 minutes. Shannon Bigbie fired a shot in the 12th minute that just missed the left side of the net while Samantha Diaz-Matosas’s header off a set piece missed the right side of the net in the 15th minute.

It wasn’t until Mollon’s score at 35:58 that an opportunity resulted into a third goal. Mollon stole the ball in the Mississippi third for a point blank shot on goal that was saved by goalkeeper Megan Vickery. The rebound dropped to Leah Loguidice who played it back to Mollon for the goal six yards out. The assist was also the first career point for Loguidice who had a goal called back in the second half against Mississippi State in Friday night’s draw.

The last time South Carolina scored three goals in one half against an SEC opponent occurred at LSU on October 15, 2001. Meredith McPortland, Melinda Carter and Kanika McAlpine combined for three scores in the opening half of a game that ended in a 4-4 tie.

Chrissy Strini scored the lone Rebel goal in the 63rd minute off a corner kick that sailed with the heavy wind and curved over goalkeeper Lindsay Thorstenson’s hands into the net.

In a physical second half, The Rebels threatened again in the 80th minute when Austin Brown beat the Carolina defense for two shots on goal, but Thorstenson blocked both attempts to secure the score.

South Carolina held a 12-7 shot advantage and both teams attempted three corner kicks. Mollon led the Gamecocks with four shots and three of Carolina’s nine shots on goal. Thorstenson recorded three saves for the win in goal while Ole Miss collected six saves in the effort. Both teams combined for 36 fouls including seven yellow cards two red cards in the match. Carolina’s Darcel Mollon and Mississippi’s Jennifer Hance – leading goal scorers for their respective teams – both received two cautions, causing each team to play with 10 players in the final minutes of the match.

“It’s extremely disappointing that this game was called the way it was,” Smith said. “The cards given were not an accurate portrayal of how the game was really played. It’s unfortunate to have so many cards given in a well-played match by both sides, and it’s unfair for two top players in the SEC to not be able to compete next weekend.”

South Carolina returns home next weekend when they host Alabama and Auburn at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks and Crimson Tide will kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday, and the game against the Tigers is set for 2 p.m. Sunday.