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Oct. 22, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C. – After recording two shutouts to help South Carolina defeat Alabama and ranked Auburn last weekend, senior goalkeeper Laura Armstrong (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood HS) has been named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week and a member of the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week. The SEC award is the second in Armstrong’s career, and it is her first Top Drawer weekly selection after being named a fourth-team member for its 2006 Team of the Season.

South Carolina also returned to the national rankings after dropping out last week for the first time since Week One. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 25 in the latest Soccer Buzz poll, released Monday afternoon. This week marks the eighth week that Carolina has carried a national ranking after making an appearance for a school-record six consecutive weeks this season and a one-week appearance in Oct. 2006.

Armstrong, who was also named the USC AgSouth Athlete of the Week Monday, becomes the third Gamecock this season to earn the SEC Defensive Player of the Week honor. Senior goalkeeper Lindsay Thorstenson picked up the honor in the season opening weekend (Sept. 3) and sophomore defender Blakely Mattern picked up the honor the next week (Sept. 10). Armstrong was previously named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 25, 2006, after also posting shutout wins at Alabama and Auburn.

One of three team captains, Armstrong’s performance against Auburn marked only the fourth time in school history that a Gamecock goalkeeper has shutout a ranked SEC opponent. Armstrong (5-1-0; 0.38 goals against average) has recorded shutouts in all five of her victories, moving her to only two shutouts behind Elise Matthews (15) for first place on the all-time USC goaltending list. She has given up only one goal in her last 630+ minutes played.

The No. 25 Gamecocks will take on their second consecutive ranked SEC opponent as they travel to Baton Rouge, La., for a Thursday night game against the No. 20 (Soccer America) LSU Tigers. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST. Carolina will then host Arkansas Sunday at 2 p.m. for Senior Day in the home finale.