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Oct. 26, 2004

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 25th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (9-4-1) return to Columbia for a pair of matches this week at they host in-state rival Furman (4-8-2) on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. and weclomes No. 22 Duke to Stone Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 2 p.m.

Wednesday night is “Mad Hatter” night at Stone Stadium. Fans who wear their favorite Carolina hat get in for $1.00.

Fans can follow both matches live on the Gamecocks’ official athleitcs web site at Richard Rowell and Tim Glowienka will call all the action on a live audio broadcast and live statistics from the match will be available through Gametracker.

South Carolina owns a 9-4-1 record entering the week and is coming off a win at UNC-Wilmington on Oct. 23. Following a three-match scoring drought that resutled in three losses, the Gamecocks bounced back to score three goals and down the Seahawks, 3-1. Sebastian Lindholm. Greg Reece and Eric Szeszycki all scored for USC in the match. South Carolina is ranked No. 25 this week by Soccer America.

The Gamecocks feature a balanced offensive attack. Szeszycki leads the way with 10 points (3g, 4a). Four players are tied for second. Sophomore forward Ayo Akinsete (4g, 1a), along with, Lindholm (3g, 3a), junior forward Ryan Deter (3g, 3a) and junior midfielder Josh Alcala (3g, 3 a) have all totaled nine points. Sophomore forward Michael Sambursky is next with eight points (2g, 4a) and he ties with Szeszycki for the most assists on the club.

Sophomore goalkeeper Brad Guzan sports a 1.20 goals-against average and has made 78 saves. Guzan, who has played every minute of the season in goal for USC, also has four shutouts. The Gamecocks have out-shot and out-scored the opposition, 211-199 and 23-17, respectively.

USC is 1-1 against teams from the Southern Conference this season after defeating Davidson, 4-1, on Sept. 29, and falling at College of Charleston, 3-0, on Oct. 20. The Gamecocks are 2-1 against ACC school with victories over Clemson (1-0) on Oct. 10 and Wake Forest (1-0, Sept. 24) and a loss at UNC (2-0 on Oct. 16).

The Gamecocks have five matches remaining on their schedule. Following this week’s home tilts with Furman and Duke, the Garnet and Black participate in College of Charleston’s Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic, Nov 5 and 7. The Gamecocks will battle Coastal Carolina and Alabama A&M in the event. South Carolina will close out the regular season at Stone Stadium on Nov. 14 against Florida International.

The Paladins bring a 4-8-1 record into Wednesday’s match and will be looking for their first win in five matches. Each of the last four matches have been one-goal losses.

Furman features a strong defense. The Paladins have given up just 15 goals in 13 matches at this point in the season.

Richard Jata and Eliot Paschalis share the team scoring lead with seven points on three goals and one assist. In goal, Alex Maslow has played every minute of the season. Maslow owns a 1.11 goals-™™against average and has three shuouts and 68 saves to his credit.

The Paladins are coached by Doug Allison, who is no stranger to the Gamecock scocer program. Allison, now in his ninth season at Furman, played at USC for head coach Mark Berson 1985-1987 and left as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 158 points, a mark that still stands in the record book. Allison later coached at South Carolina, serving as an assistant from 1991-1994.

South Carolina leads the all-time series with Furman, 17-6-4, including a 9-4-1 mark in matches played in Columbia. Last season’s meeting, which was played in Greenville, ended in a scoreless tie. In fact, three of the last five matches between the Gamecocks and Paladins have been ties (2003, 2000 and 1999). In 2002, the last time the two teams met in Columbia, Furman captured a 1-0 win. USC”s last win the series came in 2001, 3-2, in Greenville.

On this youthful USC team, all four juniors are playing an integral role in the team’s success in 2004. Greg Reece, Josh Alcala, Eric Szeszycki and Ryan Deter have all played in every match season. Reece, a tri-captain, has started all 14 matches this season and has scored two goals from his defense position. Fellow tri-captain Szeszycki, also a starter in all 14 matches, currenlty leads USC in scoring with 10 points on three goals and four assists. Alcala, who has started 14 matches, and Deter are tied for second on the team lead with nine points apiece. The Gamecock junior class has accounted for nearly half o the team’s points in 2004 (32 of 65) and 11 of 23 goals.

• South Carolina has matched its win total from 2003 when it finished 9-7-2.
• Junior co-captain Eric Szeszycki has taken and all three of USC’s penalty kicks this season.
• The Gamecocks have two wins over top-25 teams this season. On Sept. 10, USC defeated then-No, 16 Portland, 3-2, at home, and on Sept. 24, shut out then-No.13 Wake Forest, 1-0, on the road.
• South Carolina is 5-1 in home matches this season, 4-3 on the road and 0-0-1 on a neutral field.
• USC has played just one overtime match in 2004. The Gamecocks tied Princeton on Sept. 19, 2-2.
• Of their 23 goals this season, the Gamecocks have scored six in the first half and 17 in the second half. ™
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