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Nov. 7, 2009

#4 South Carolina vs #2 LSU | Sunday, 3 p.m. ESPNU
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ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – A new SEC Champion will be crowned Sunday when fourth-seeded South Carolina (No. 15 NSCAA) takes on second-seeded LSU (No. 13 NSCAA) in the SEC Championship match at 3 p.m. on ESPNU. The title match is the first for each program after the teams both earned 1-0 shutout victories in the semifinal round.

South Carolina (17-3-1) lost only three games this season, dropping road matches to No. 23 Georgia (2-1), No. 13 LSU (1-0) and No. 8 Florida (3-0). After earning the fourth seed for the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, South Carolina’s road to the title was setup to allow the Gamecocks to avenge their only three losses of the season. In Wednesday’s quarterfinal round, the Gamecocks defeated Georgia 3-2. In Friday’s semifinal round, the Gamecocks defeated Florida 1-0. Sunday’s championship match is a chance for South Carolina to earn the final victory and give the Gamecocks the rare chance to beat every team on the 2009 schedule.

South Carolina is advancing to its fourth consecutive SEC Tournament and eighth overall. With Friday’s win over Florida, South Carolina is advancing to its first ever SEC Championship match. The Gamecocks are 3-7-1 all-time in the tournament, but the team has advanced to the semifinal round three times in the past four seasons. South Carolina had a draw against Vanderbilt in 2006 leading to a 4-3 decision in penalty kicks. The Gamecocks then won their first tournament match in 2007 with a 2-0 win against Tennessee. Sunday’s game will be the first time the team will meet LSU in the tourney. South Carolina has met Florida the most, going 1-3-0 against the Gators. They have also met Georgia (1-2-0), Tennessee (1-1-0) and Vanderbilt (0-1-1).

LSU won the SEC West with an 8-2-1 conference record and finished one point behind Florida for the overall title. The Tigers advanced to the championship match with a 4-2 win against Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals and a 1-0 win against Auburn in the semis. The team is led by SEC Offensive Player of the Year Malorie Rutledge who has 10 goals and 12 assists for 32 points. Melissa Clarke also has 10 goals on the season, and she has added four assists for 24 points. Senior striker Rachel Yepez has returned to the lineup after missing action – including the last game between these teams – with an ankle injury. Sophomore goalkeeper Mo Isom has 11 shutouts on the year.