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Nov. 17, 2004

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team is busy preparing for its opening round NCAA Tournament match this week. The Gamecocks and Cougars will take the field on Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium on the USC campus. Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $5 for youths and college students. For advance tickets, fans are welcome to contact the South Carolina ticket office by phone at (803) 777-4274 or 1-800-4SC-FANS.

An audio broadcast of the match will be available at South Carolina’s official athletic web site, Richard Rowell and former Gamecock player Tim Glowienka will call the action. Fans can also find a link to live statistics through CBS sportsline on USC’s site.

The Gamecocks enter Friday night’s match with a 12-6-1 record overall. USC has four wins over teams in the 2004 NCAA Tournament field, including a win over the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Gamecocks also beat Duke, Portland and Florida International.

College of Charleston secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Southern Conference Tournament. The Cougars are 16-5-1.

Friday will mark the second meeting of the season between South Carolina and College of Charleston. The Cougars defeated the Gamecocks in Charleston, 3-0, on Oct. 20. Though USC and Charleston play on a regular basis, this is the first time the rivals have competed against each other in the NCAA Tournament.

The Gamecocks’ NCAA Tournament History
After a one-year hiatus for the field, USC will play in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons and the 17th time overall. USC is the only independent team in the field of 48 and earned one of 25 at-large bids. The Gamecocks own a 15-16 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, including a 10-9 mark in matches on their home turf at Stone Stadium. USC has suffered three straight losses at home in NCAA action and will be looking to reverse that trend of Friday night. All three of those losses have been by just one goal and two have come in overtime. The Gamecocks’ last NCAA victory came on Nov. 22, 1998, in the first round against Virginia Commonwealth. That match was played at Stone Stadium and the final score was 2-1.

South Carolina has competed in two Final Fours (College Cups), in both 1988 and 1993, and advanced to the NCAA title match in 1993. Here’s a look at each of Carolina’s NCAA trips and the latest round the team played in.

Year Round
1979 First Round
1985 Quarterfinals
1986 First Round
1987 Second Round
1988 Quarterfinals*
1989 Quarterfinals
1990 Second Round
1992 First Round
1993 Finals
1994 First Round
1995 Second Round
1997 Second Round
1998 Second Round
2000 First Round
2001 Second Round*
2002 First Round

*indcates years when USC had a first-round bye

Juniors Eric Szeszycki, Ryan Deter, Josh Alcala and Greg Reece are the only players on USC’s current roster that have competed in the NCAA Tourney. All four were freshman on USC’s club that fell to Coastal Carolina, 2-1, in overtime in 2002.

Last Match Between USC and College of Charleston
Ranked No. 15 at the time, South Carolina fell to College of Charleston, 3-0, at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant on Oct. 20. The Gamecocks’ record slipped to 8-4-1 with the loss while the Cougars captured their fifth straight win and improved to 10-4-0.

The Cougars got on the scoreboard just over 15 minutes into the match when Troy Lesesne scored an unassisted goal. In the 31st minute, George Grygar found the back of the net on an assist from Jeremy Gold and College of Charleston secured a 2-0 lead heading into the halftime break.

USC had shown a penchant for fighting its way back from a deficit this season, but it was not to be that night. The Cougars pushed their lead to 3-0 in the 80th minute as Tony Myers found paydirt on an assist from Lesesne.

The Gamecocks’ recent inability to find their scoring punch continued as they failed to find the back of the net for the third straight match.

South Carolina sophomore goalkeeper Brad Guzan registered a career-high 13 saves. USC was out-shot, 26-15, but attempted seven corner kicks to just three for the Cougars. For College of Charleston, goalie Keith Wiggans collected five saves in the shutout effort. Michael Sambursky led USC with five shots.

The All-Time Series
South Carolina leads the all-time series 15-3-3, including a 12-1-1 mark in Columbia. The last five meetings are dead even as both teams have two wins and the fifth meeting resulted in a tie.

The Last Five Meetings
2000 South Carolina 2, College of Charleston 0 (Charleston)
2001 South Carolina 2, College of Charleston 0 (Columbia)
2002 College of Charleston 1, South Carolina 0 (Charleston)
2003 South Carolina 2, College of Charleston 2 (Columbia)
2004 College of Charleston 3, South Carolina 0 (Charleston)

Gamecocks at the Graveyard
USC has enjoyed tremendous success over the years at Stone Stadium, which is also nicknamed “The Graveyard” because of its close proximity to the House of Peace Cemetery. The Gamecocks have a 239-57-16 record all-time at home, which equates to a .792 winning percentage. USC has a 7-2-0 record at Stone Stadium in 2004 and a 10-9 mark there in NCAA Tournament matches. The largest crowd to watch the Gamecocks this season came through the gates on Oct. 10. A total of 4,312 peopl witnessed USC’s 1-0 victory over Clemson.

Gamecock Head Coach Mark Berson on USC’s Trip to the NCAA Tournament
“Playing on our home field is a big advantage. Friday night we’re hoping for a great turnout from our student population and the University community. The crowd can be a big factor, and we’ve had outstanding support all season long.”

“College of Charleston is a veteran team. They have 11 seniors on their roster and seven or eight of them are starters. It makes a big difference when you face a team that is senior-oriented. I like our chances though. This team doesn’t back down from anyone and College of Charleston will get our best shot on Friday night.”

“This team has grown and gotten better as the year has gone along. In addition to the win at Wake Forest, (after losing three straight), they dug in a got a win on the road at UNC-Wilmington and defeated a highly-ranked Duke team at home. They have responded to challenges. It’s a very fitting reward to get into the NCAA Tournament. This young team has come up with some big wins. Now we need to refocus and see what we can do on Friday night.”