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Nov. 7, 2004

Final Stats

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The 25th-ranked South Carolina men’s soccer team rallied from a two-goal deficit to scored three unanswered goals on its way to a 3-2 victory over Alabama A&M on Sunday afternoon in the Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. Junior co-captain Eric Szeszycki converted the game-winning goal on a penalty kick with just over two minutes remaining, sending the Gamecocks to their 11th win of the season.

“Our team showed a lot of character and a lot of poise coming back from two goals down to win,” Carolina coach Mark Berson said. “The team kept their composure and went about their work. It was a very good win, a win that builds character for a team after coming from behind.”

South Carolina (11-6-1) found itself in a familiar but uncomfortable place against Alabama A&M – down two goals. Justin Vaughter scored the first goal of the match, getting an assist from Henry Kabeta with just 5:42 gone off the clock.

Alabama A&M (3-11-2) built on its lead in the 21st minute. This time it was Kabeta with the goal on an assist from Eugene Sepuya, making it 2-0.

After a heartbreaking 3-2 loss on Friday night in which Coastal Carolina scored in the final minute of play, the Gamecocks showed their grit and character in mounting a comeback. And this time, they were able to finish the job.

Sophomore Michael Sambursky struck for the Gamecocks in the 39th minute. Sambursky, USC’s leader in shot attempts, tallied his third goal of the season on an assist by junior defender Josh Alcala.

South Carolina opened the second half scoring in the 65th minute of play. Freshman Sebastian Lindholm launched a corner kick and sophomore defender Makan Hislop headed the ball into the back of the net, tying the match 2-2. The goal was Hislop’s first of the season and the second of his USC career.

With just over three minutes left to play in regulation, Alabama A&M’s Andrew Jjombwe was called for a yellow card and then a red card after a foul in the box.

Szeszycki took the ensuing penalty kick and converted his fourth goal of the season at 87:33. Szeszycki has been clutch for Carolina, scoring on all four of his penalty kick attempts in 2004.

USC out-shot the Bulldogs 18-11 and took eight corner kicks to just two for Alabama A&M. USC goalkeeper sophomore Brad Guzan made two saves in the win. Jade Bulelani saved two Gamecocks shots and allowed two goals. Jjombwe also played in goal for the Bulldogs, making one save and allowing one goal.

Lindholm and Szeszycki were honored for their play as members of the Classic All-Tournament team.

“I’m proud of our effort, particularly in the second half, and of the mental toughness we showed to bounce back after a difficult loss on Friday night to Coastal Carolina,” Berson said. “That was a game that could have gone either way. We really showed our determination in rebounding to win today. I’m proud of the players and the staff.”

The Gamecocks will wrap up their regular season on Sunday, Nov. 14, with a match against Florida International. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Stone Stadium in Columbia.