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Oct. 9, 2008

South Carolina vs. Mississippi State | Friday, 7 p.m.
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South Carolina vs. Ole Miss | Sunday, 2 p.m.
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General Information
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina women’s soccer team returns to Stone Stadium this weekend with home matches against Mississippi State (Fri., 7 p.m.) and Ole Miss (Sun., 2 p.m.). The Gamecocks will look to bounce back from their first SEC loss last Sunday. Friday’s match is “Think Pink” day where the first 200 fans will receive a free “Think Pink” t-shirt.

Gametracker and live video will be available for both matches at

South Carolina hits the road next weekend with away games at Alabama and Auburn. The Gamecocks and Crimson Tide kickoff at 8 p.m. Friday before Carolina travels to face the Tigers at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Former Clemson coach Todd Bramble is now the head coach at Alabama.

Mississippi State (5-8-0) is still in search of its first conference victory. The Bulldogs dropped their first four SEC matches by a combined score of 12-1 and have not scored since Sept. 26 against LSU. However, the Bulldogs are not without options and spread the ball evenly around with 13 players tallying at least one goal and 20 players with at least one point. Taryn Holland leads the team in goal with a 1.68 GAA and a league-best 80 saves following a career-high 13 recorded against Alabama last week.

The Rebels (5-5-2) followed a relatively average non-conference result with a strong 3-1-0 start to SEC play, putting them second in the SEC standings after two weeks. Ole Miss is riding a three-game win streak that includes a victory against LSU – the first loss of the season for the Tigers. Jennifer Hance leads the Rebels with 11 points (5g, 1a) while Megan Vickery and Jackie DeNova have split time in goal, although Vickery has played almost 70 percent of the minutes. Two-time All-SEC selection Danielle Johnson was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week this week.

Freshman Kayla Grimsley has carried her strog play from the non-conference portion of the season to SEC play. Grimsley currently leads Carolina with seven goals and three assists for 17 points, numbers that rank fourth all-time for Carolina freshmen with seven regular season games remaining. Even more impressive is that 11 of her 17 points have come in Carolina’s four SEC games (3 goals and 2 assists). Grimsley leads the conference in points and shot percentage after her three goal weekend that earned her Team of the Week honors. She became just the second Gamecock to score three goals in one SEC weekend – the last being Jennie Ondo in 1999.

Redshirt-sophomore Mollie Patton has been one of many bright spots upon Carolina’s new starters this year. Playing for the first time since she graduated high school in 2005, Patton currently leads the SEC with a 0.66 goals against average despite playing the most minutes of all keepers. She also ranks second with six shutouts. She began the season with a 434:23 shutout streak that ended against Furman and came up big in Carolina’s draw with No. 7 Florida State.

For the first time in three weeks the Gamecocks are not ranked, but the team continues to receive respect nationally as they are receiving votes in two polls. The NSCAA coaches top 25 poll has the Gamecocks as the fifth team out, behind only No. 12 Florida in the SEC. Soccer Times tabs Carolina as the first team out of its Top 25 poll.

South Carolina has been nearly unstoppable at Stone Stadium the past two seasons, posting a 21-1-4 record at home since 2006. The streak included a 15-game unbeaten streak from Aug. 31, 2006-Oct. 5, 2007. The lone blemish on the record was a double-overtime loss to Vanderbilt (Oct. 7, 2007) when the Gamecocks surrendered a goal with nine seconds remaining in the game. Carolina has 16 shutouts during the 24 game stretch, including 10 of the last 14 matches.

South Carolina is ranked in the top three in the SEC in every major defensive category. Led by starting defenders Brittiny Rhoades, Ellen Fahey, Blakely Mattern and Samantha Diaz-Matosas, Carolina has registered seven shutouts, holds a 0.66 goals against average and has limited opponents to only 50 shots on goal, all ranking second in the SEC. The defense has only allowed nine goals and 24 points, numbers that rank third in the SEC.