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Sept. 3, 2009

South Carolina at Louisville | Friday, 7 p.m.
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South Carolina vs. Cincinnati | Sunday, 11 a.m.
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina travels to Kentucky this weekend to participate in the Courtyard by Marriott Airport Cardinal Classic hosted by the University of Louisville. The Gamecocks will play the host Cardinals Friday night at 7 p.m. before taking on another Big EAST opponent, Cincinnati, in Sunday’s 11 a.m. match.

The games mark the first time the Gamecocks will play either team. South Carolina (2-0) is coming off back-to-back 2-0 wins against College of Charleston and Western Carolina in matches where the Gamecocks allowed only two shots in 180 minutes played. Senior Blakely Mattern was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week and earned Soccer America Team of the Week honors after the weekend victories.

The Gamecocks travel upstate to compete in the fifth annual Carolinas Cup. The tournament will take place at Clemson’s Riggs Field this year. The Gamecocks and Tigers will play Friday’s nightcap at 7:30 p.m. UNC Wilmington will meet Carolina Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

Louisville hosts the tournament after posting a 1-1 record to open the season. Senior Lindsay Boling leads the team with one goal for two points, and freshman Taylor Vancil sports a 0.50 goals against average. The Cardinals were picked to finish fourth in the National division in the Big EAST preseason poll.

Cincinnati enters the tournament with a 1-2 record with a win at Ohio and losses to Kentucky and Northeastern. The Bearcats have yet to play a home game, but they have been able to get looks on the net with a 38-26 shot advantage. Sophomore Emily Hebbeler leads the two with two goals for four points. Junior Rachel Barnett has started all three game and sports a 1.60 goals against average. The Bearcats were picked to finish sixth in the National division in the Big EAST preseason poll.

It may have seemed like déjà vu, but it wasn’t quite that. In the season opener, senior Kim Miller scored the first Gamecock goal followed by sophomore Kayla Grimsley’s goal to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead before halftime. Just two days later, the duo combined for another two first half goals against Western Carolina, but Grimsley notched the gamewinner in that one followed by Miller’s. The two leading scorers from last year’s team have picked up right where they left off.

Through two games, the South Carolina defense has allowed only two shots total and one shot on goal. With an average of one shot allowed per game, the Gamecocks lead the nation for all teams that have played at least 180 minutes.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Mollie Patton returns for her second season as starter in goal and began with two shutouts to move her into a tie for third on the South Carolina all-time list with nine career shutouts. She opened the 2007 season with a 434:23 shutout streak en route to tying a program record with seven shutouts on the year.

South Carolina had a big bump in the rankings after its 2-0 weekend to start the season. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 2 in the NSCAA South region behind Florida, an improvement of three spots from its preseason ranking. In the national poll, South Carolina is receiving votes and are the second team out of the Top 25.