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Sept. 5, 2008

Final Stats | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif COLUMBIA, S.C. – Midfielder Lindsay Small stepped up for the second consecutive game to lead the South Carolina women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory against rival Clemson in front of 1,254 fans at Stone Stadium, the third largest crowd to watch a women’s soccer match at the stadium. The win is the third consecutive home victory for the Gamecocks against the Tigers and marks the 10th straight shutout victory in the series as the winning team has stifled the opponent in every match since 1999.

With the victory, South Carolina improves to 3-0-1 to continue the unbeaten shutout streak for goalkeeper Mollie Patton to begin the season. Courtesy of a tough Carolina defense that limited the Tigers to four shots, Patton only registered two saves in the match but saw her season-opening shutout streak improve to 380 minutes (380:00) in her first season in goal. Clemson drops its first match of the season, falling to 3-1-0 after being outshot 14-4 with two shots in each half.

“Obviously to beat Clemson is very rewarding,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “I’m satisfied with the team performance. I thought we were ready to play and I’m excited that for the first time we’ve really outshot them. I can’t be happier about the performance. Every game we talk about getting better and I think it showed with how aggressive we were.”

Small, a junior from Suffield, Conn., has been more of a defensive midfielder in her first two seasons but has come on strong recently as the Gamecocks began looking for more offensive production following a scoreless tie in the season opener and a win on a penalty kick in the second game. Small hit the game-winning goal in the 56th minute against Boston University five days ago for her first career points. She followed that up with a strike in the 48th minute Friday night to notch her second goal in as many games. She was assisted by Brooke Jacobs and Kira Campbell to help push Carolina’s record at Stone Stadium to 18-1-3 since the 2006 season.

“Lindsay has stepped up her game tremendously and has been doing what we’ve asked,” Smith said. “She’s come up out of midfield when we’ve asked her to and stepped up her play. We’ve incorporated her into a starting role and she’s done a good job at solidifying her game.”

The first half saw an aggressive South Carolina team work to maximize its number of opportunities, beginning with two looks in the 12th minute that went for naught. Kayla Grimsley had the first chance with a ball inside the 18′ but was stripped by the Clemson defense in front of the goal before earning a 1v1 opportunity. The ball then found its way to Shannon Bigbie who struck a hard shot that bounced off the cross bar. Despite attempting eight shots in the half, none were registered on goal until Small knocked it into the corner of the net three minutes into the second half.

Action at the Carolina’s Cup continues Sunday beginning with Clemson vs. Francis Marion at 11:30 a.m. Following the match, South Carolina renews its rivalry with Furman in a game scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff. The Gamecocks and Paladins have competed every season since the Carolina program began in 1995. The Gamecocks hold a 10-2-1 advantage and have not dropped a match since 2003, including a 1-0 victory in last season’s Carolina’s Cup held in Charlotte. Furman (2-0-1) defeated Francis Marion 2-1 earlier Friday at Stone Stadium.