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Oct. 15, 2004

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 7/8 South Carolina men’s soccer team begins a three-match road swing on Saturday, Oct. 16, when it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels. The match is set for 7 p.m. and will be played at Fetzer Field. Fans can follow the match live via Gametracker on Go to the schedule page to access the link for the USC-North Carolina match.

South Carolina owns an 8-2-1 record entering Saturday’s match. The Gamecocks had their four-match win streak snapped on Wednesday as they fell to Charlotte, 1-0, at home. It marked the first time this season USC had failed to score in a match.

Carolina is ranked in all four of the national soccer polls. In the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America poll, the Gamecocks moved up 10 spots from last week to No. 7. USC is ranked eighth by Soccer America, rising from No. 10 last week. According to Soccer Times, the Gamecocks are No. 15 (up from 18th a week ago) and College Soccer News ranks USC 14th.

Junior midfielder Josh Alcala and junior forward Ryan Deter share the team lead in scoring with nine points on three goals and three assists apiece. Sophomore forward Ayo Akinsete is the team’s leading goal scorer with four. Eric Szeszycki, Sebastian Lindholm and Michael Sambursky are in a three-way tie for third, all with seven points apiece.

Sophomore goalkeeper Brad Guzan has 60 saves and four shutouts to his credit. Guzan, a preseason All-America candidate, also has a 0.98 goals-against average and a save percentage of .845.

Overall, the Gamecocks have out-scored their opponents, 20-11, and have 169-148 shot advantage.

The Tar Heels have a 4-6-2 record on the season, including a 2-2-1 mark in home matches. North Carolina was picked to win the ACC in the preseason and the Tar Heels have two players that appear on the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List (National Player of the Year), Marcus Storey and Jamie Watson. Storey leads UNC with 16 points in 2004 on five goals and six assists, both of which are team bests. Corey Ashe is next with four goals and eight points while Tim Merritt has scored a pair of goals and has three assists for seven points.

Ford Williams has served at UNC’s primary goalkeeper, starting eight matches. Wiliams has a 1.56 goals-against average and has collected 27 saves in 750:48 of game action. He owns a 3-4-1 record and has one shutout. The Tar Heels have given up 20 goals and scored 19 and are being out-shot by opponents, 141-114.

North Carolina is coached by Elmar Bolowich, who is in his 16th season.

North Carolina holds the advantage over South Carolina, 13-10-1, in a series where both teams have fared well at home. USC leads in Columbia, 8-6-0, while the Tar Heels are 7-2-1 in Chapel Hill. North Carolina won last season’s meeting, 1-0, in Columbia on Nov. 8.

o The Tar Heels’ roster features 12 players from the state of North Carolina. South Carolina has two players who are originally from North Carolina, Greg Reece (Clemmons/West Forsyth HS) and Ryan Deter (Raliegh/Leesville Road).

o Deter played club soccer for CASL, the same team as Tar Heels Ford Williams, Michael Harrington, Lee Supperville, David Boole, Brad Darby, Jimmy Holcombe, Ted Odgers, Zach Haines and Michael Walters.

o South Carolina head coach Mark Berson graduated from North Carolina and played four seasons for the Tar Heels from 1971-1974.

Head coach Mark Berson won his 375th career game on Sunday against Clemson. The Gamecock mentor is in his 27th season and is the only coach USC men’s soccer has ever known. Including one season as the head coach at The Citadel, Berson’s career record is 375-133-43. At South Carolina, he is 364-131-43.

Under Berson’s leadership, South Carolina has established itself as one of the nation’s premier soccer programs. The Gamecocks have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament 16 times, including two trips to the final four, in the 26 years of the program’s existence.

Among active coaches, his 367 entering the season wins rank No. 5, and his .716 winning percentage is ninth. Berson’s winning percentage is No. 22 all-time in Division I history, and he has the 12th most wins in Division I history. (Rankings reflect records through the 2003 season).

South Carolina picked up a 1-0 victory over archrival Clemson last Sunday in front of 4,312 fans, the 15th-largest crowd in Stone Stadium history. Junior Ryan Detter netted the game-winning goal on an assist by sophomore Michael Sambursky while sophomore Brad Guzan turned in a stellar performance in goal with seven saves and his fourth shutout of the year. The Gamecocks earned their first victory over the Tigers since 1995. Clemson had controlled the series in the last eight meetings, other than a 0-0 tie on Oct. 8, 2000.

South Carolina’s scoring wealth is spread up and down the lineup 11 matches into the season. Ten different players have cracked the scoring column in 2004, including nine who have tallied at least one goal. Six different Gamecocks have scored at least two goals, including Ayo Akinsete (4), Josh Alcala (3), Ryan Deter (3), Eric Szeszycki (2), Sebastian Lindholn (2), and Mike Sambursky (2). Alcala, Szeszycki, Lindholm and Deter all have three assists to their credit, which ranks as the most on the team.

South Carolina occupies the No. 2 spot this week in the National Soccer Coaches Association South Region poll, trailing only UNC-Greensboro. Here’s a look at the South Region top 10.

1 University of North Carolina, Greensboro 9-0-1
2 University of South Carolina 8-1-1
3 University of South Florida 7-0-2
4 Duke University 11-1-0
5 Clemson University 6-4-0
5 University of Alabama at Birmingham 6-4-0
7 College of Charleston (S.C.) 8-4-0
7 Wake Forest University 5-3-1
9 Georgia State University 6-3-0
10 Mercer University 7-3-0
Also receiving votes: North Carolina-Charlotte, Florida International