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Oct. 1, 2009

#8 South Carolina at Ole Miss | Friday, 8 p.m.
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#8 South Carolina at Mississippi State | Sunday, 2 p.m.
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 8 South Carolina will put its perfect record on the line this weekend when the team travels to the Magnolia State to take on two SEC teams. The Gamecocks (10-0-0, 2-0-0 SEC) open Friday night with an 8 p.m. game against Ole Miss (7-2-0; 1-0-0 SEC).

South Carolina will then return to the pitch Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. to compete against Mississippi State (8-2-0, 0-2-0 SEC) in Starkville. That game will have a live video stream courtesy of Mississippi State at:

South Carolina holds a 5-3-2 series advantage against the Rebels and are unbeaten in the last three matches between the teams. Carolina won 3-2 last season at home when Samantha Diaz-Matosas hit the game-winner in the 88th minute.

The Gamecocks also hold a 5-4-1 advantage against the Bulldogs and are also unbeaten in the last three matches between the teams. Carolina won a 2-1 decision last year at home after scoring two goals in the opening eight minutes of the match.

The Gamecocks return home for Senior Day on Friday, Oct. 9. South Carolina will take on Auburn at 7 p.m. in that match before returning Sunday to face Alabama at 2 p.m.

Ole Miss sports the conference’s top scoring offense and comes into the match looking for their second win over a ranked team this season. The Rebels are led by junior Taylor Cunningham (6g, 14p) and sophomore Kelsey Breathitt (4g, 10p) in scoring, but 13 different players have earned a goal so far this season. Sophomore Alley Ronaldi sports a 0.61 goals against average with four shutouts.

The Bulldogs will look to right the ship this weekend after a tough start to conference play with losses to Auburn and Alabama. Sunday’s match will be their third game in six days. The team is led in scoring by junior Kat Walsh with six goals and an assist for 13 points. Senior Taryn Holland returns in goal this season and has a 1.09 goals against average with four saves.

As one of two teams remaining in the country without a loss or tie, the South Carolina women’s soccer team earned its second ever unanimous Top 10 ranking this week after the polls by the NSCAA, Soccer America and Soccer Times were released Tuesday. The Gamecocks are No. 8 by the NSCAA and hold No. 7 rankings by both Soccer America and Soccer Times.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Mollie Patton set a new South Carolina single-season shutout record when she grabbed her eighth shutout of the year in the win against Kentucky. The shutout was the 15th of her career, tying her with Laura Armstrong and Elise Matthews for first on the South Carolina all-time list.

Sophomore Kayla Grimsley has continued the stellar play that she exhibited in her freshman season last year. The flashy player set a new South Carolina record with a nine-match scoring streak, and her goal against South Alabama tied her program record four-match goal scoring streak. She currently holds the SEC lead in goals (7) and points (16).

Noted as one of the top defensive teams in the country under Shelley Smith, South Carolina has continued that excellence this season and added a little offensive flair as well. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 3 in the NCAA in defense (0.20 goals against average) and No. 18 in the NCAA in scoring offense (2.80 goals/game). With the production, South Carolina is also at the top of the SEC lists. The team leads the conference in goals allowed, goals against average, shutouts, assists, points, shot percentage and shot on goal percentage.

South Carolina is currently tied for the national lead with eight shutouts on the year and have allowed only two goals through the first 10 games of the season. Junior goalkeeper Mollie Patton remains tied for the national lead with eight solo shutouts and sports the top goals against average in the nation at 0.10.

Junior goalkeeper Mollie Patton has learned to embrace the helmet she has had to wear the past two seasons due to previous concussions. This year she has company now that Lindsay Small and Brittiny Rhoades have been confined to wearing headgear due to blows to the head recently. Rhoades began wearing headgear after a blow in the Clemson victory led to her getting stitches on her left brow. Small then had to get headgear after taking an inadvertent elbow in the Vanderbilt victory, causing her to get stitches below her right brow.

Goals have been spread around the entire Gamecock team so far with a different player hitting the game-winning goal in eight of Carolina’s 10 games. Fourteen different players have scored a goal this season, and only half of those players have scored multiple goals this season: Kayla Grimsley, Kim Miller, Blakely Mattern, Samantha Diaz-Matosas, Lindsay Small, Brooke Jacobs and Christine Watts.

Senior defender Blakely Mattern has started every game of her career, and with 77 career starts is currently tied for second all-time at South Carolina. She is on pace to surpass Ashley Kirk’s record of 81 starts in the Oct. 16 away game at Georgia. She, along with Shannon Bigbie, Samantha Diaz-Matosas and Kim Miller, could surpass the games played record of 83 on the Oct. 22 home finale against Arkansas.