Nov. 3, 2004
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team heads down the home stretch this weekend when it hits the road to play in College of Charleston’s Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic, Nov. 5 and 7. The Gamecocks open play in the Classic with an intra-state match-up against Coastal Carolina on Friday, Nov. 5, at 5 p.m. On Sunday, Nov. 7, USC will take on Alabama A&M at 2:30 p.m. Both matches will be played at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Fans can access a live audio broadcast of Friday’s match at www.USCsports.com. Richard Rowell will call the action. Click on the Live Audio link on the right-hand side of the men’s soccer page to get to the broadcast. In addition, live statistics will be available on College of Charleston’s web site at www.CofCsports.com.
South Carolina enters the weekend with a 10-5-1 record and fresh off a big win over No. 13 Duke last Sunday. The Gamecocks defeated the Blue Devils, a former No. 1 in 2004, 1-0, in Columbia. It was just the second time this season Duke had been shutout.
South Carolina Update
Freshman forward Sebastian Lindholm, who scored the game-winning goal against Duke, sits atop South Carolina’s scoring ledger with 11 points on four goals and three assists. His four goals and two game-winning goals tie with sophomore Ayo Akinsete for the most of the team. Junior Ryan Deter has also scored two game-winning goals. Akinsete (4g, 2a), junior midfielder Eric Szeszycki (3g, 4a) and junior defender Josh Alcala (3g, 4a) are all tied for second on the club with 10 points each. Nine different USC players have scored this season and four have posted double-digit points.
Defensively, junior Greg Reece and sophomore Makan Hislop have started every match they have played in for the Gamecocks. Sophomore goalkeeper Brad Guzan and the USC defense have collected five shutouts this season. Guzan has played every minute of the season in goal for Carolina and owns a 1.11 goals-against average to go with 90 saves and a .833 save percentage. Guzan averages 5.63 saver per match, a mark that ranks No. 17 nationally.
In the National Rankings
The Gamecocks are ranked in three of the four national polls this week. USC’s highest ranking is No. 22 in the Soccer Times Poll. South Carolina is also ranked No. 24 by Soccer America and No. 25 by the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America.
Strong Showing Against the ACC
In 2004, USC has turned in an impressive showing against the Atlantic Coast Conference, annually one of the best leagues in the country. In four matches against ACC foes, the Gamecocks went 3-1.
South Carolina went on the road to defeat Wake Forest, 1-0, on Sept. 24. The Demon Deacons, who are atop the ACC standings in the final week of play, were ranked No. 13 at the time and are ranked as high as No. 5 (Soccer America) in this week’s national polls.
USC earned a 1-0 victory over rival Clemson on Oct. 10 in Columbia and topped 13th-ranked Duke at home on Oct. 31. The Blue Devils got off to an 11-0-0 start and rose to the top of the national rankings at midseason.
South Carolina’s lone loss came on the road at North Carolina, a 2-0 setback on Oct. 16.
Gamecock Soccer to Join Conference USA
The University of South Carolina has accepted an invitation to become an affiliate member of Conference USA in men’s soccer beginning in the 2005 season, Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced earlier this week. Currently an independent, this marks South Carolina’s first conference affiliation since a stint in the Metro Conference from 1993-94.
USC, the University of Kentucky and Florida International University will join current members East Carolina, UAB and Memphis, as well as incoming members Marshall, SMU, Tulsa and Central Florida to form the 10-team league next season. The teams will play a nine-game, round-robin schedule.
In addition, six of the 10 teams will advance to a conference tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina has made 16 NCAA Tournament appearances in the 27-year history of the program, including 10 since 1990, and has advanced to the Final Four twice (1988 and 1993).
Only three member schools in the Southeastern Conference compete in men’s soccer (South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt), which is not enough to sponsor a full league schedule.
Tracking the South Region
South Carolina is fourth in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America South Region poll. The Gamecocks moved up four spots from eighth after Sunday’s win over Duke, which is ranked tied for seven in the poll. South Carolina is one of four teams from the South Region that appear in this week’s NSCAA National Top 25 Poll.
1 University of North Carolina, Greensboro
2 Wake Forest
3 College of Charleston (S.C.)
4 South Carolina
7 Florida International
7 North Carolina
10 South Florida
Also receiving votes: Clemson, Florida Atlantic
Gamecocks Secure Winning Record
In 2004, South Carolina has secured a winning season for the 25th time in the program’s 27 seasons. With three regular season matches remaining and the possibility of competing in the NCAA Tournament, the Gamecocks are 10-5-1 and looking to build on that record.
The Gamecocks have proven to have an extra scoring punch in the second half this season. Of USC’s 24 goals in 2004, 18 were scored in the second half. South Carolina has given up nine goals in each half.
Four Gamecock players have played in and started in all 16 of South Carolina’s matches this season. That group includes junior midfielder Eric Szeszycki, sophomore forward Michael Samburksy, junior defender Greg Reece and junior defender Josh Alcala.