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Aug. 31, 2005

Clemson Match Notes (PDF)
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The South Carolina men’s soccer team kicks off the 2005 season on Friday, Sept. 2, on the road at Clemson. Match time is set for 7:30 p.m. at CU’s Riggs Field. Admission to the match is free.

A live audio broadcast of the match will be available on South Carolina’s official athletic web site, Richard Rowell will call the action.

The Gamecocks are looking for their second straight victory over the Tigers after winning the 2004 tilt, 1-0, in Columbia. Friday marks the 33rd meeting between the rivals in men’s soccer.

The Gamecocks return nine starters and 14 letterwinners from the 2004 team that finished with a 12-7-1 record and made the school’s 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. In 2005, head coach Mark Berson welcomes 12 new players to the roster, a group that includes four transfers and eight freshmen.

• Carolina has five of its top six scorers from last season returning in 2005. Seniors Eric Szeszycki (5 goals, 4 assists) and Ryan Deter (5 goals, 4 assists) both scored 14 points to tie for second last season. Juniors Ayo Akinsete (5 goals, 2 assists) and Mike Sambursky (3 goals, 6 assists) both finished with 12 points, tying for fourth. Senior Josh Alcala (3 goals,5 assist) also scored in double-digits with 11 points.
• Sebastian Lindholm led the Gamecocks in scoring last season as a freshman, totaling 16 points (6 goals, 4 assists), but will miss the 2005 campaign with an ACL injury. Lindholm tore his ACL during the week leading up to USC’s NCAA Tournament match, and after rehabilitating the injury last spring, re-injured it over the summer.
• Deter will miss the beginning of the season after suffering a foot injury near the end of the summer. He is expected to be cleared in the early part of the season.
• The Gamecocks will have a new goalkeeper this season after two-year starter and All-American Brad Guzan chose to forgo his final two seasons of eligbility to begin his professional career. Four new players are vying for the starting job: sophomore Geoff del Forn, a transfer from Piedmont College, and a trio of freshmen Mike Gustavson, Ryan Jenkins and Matt Mierley.

A long-time independent in men’s soccer, South Carolina enters Conference USA as an affiliate member in men’s soccer in 2005. USC is one of three schools that were invited to become affiliate members, along with Kentucky and Florida International.

The 10-team league features a nine-game round robin regular season schedule and a postseason tournament, which decides the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

In addition to the three affiliate members, C-USA members East Carolina, Memphis, UAB, UCF, Marshall, SMU and Tulsa compete in men’s soccer.

Annually, South Carolina boasts a challenging schedule and the 2005 season is no exception. USC has eight teams on its schedule that played in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, including three of its first four opponents, College of Charleston, Wake Forest and North Carolina. The Gamecocks will also face 2004 Conference USA champion Memphis and Florida International, UCF, Tulsa and SMU in league play.

Under the leadership of Coach Mark Berson, South Carolina has established itself as one of the nation’s premier soccer programs. Since the varsity program began in 1978, Berson has been at the helm. Entering his 28th seasons, he currently ranks fifth among active Division I coaches with 379 wins, and No. 12 on the all-time career victories list.

Berson’s Gamecock teams have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 17 of 27 seasons, including four appearances in the NCAA quarterfinals and two trips to the College Cup. In addition, Berson has also coached 10 players to 12 All-America honors at South Carolina.

Including one year as the head coach at The Citadel (1977), Berson’s career record is 379-141-43 (.711). He owns a 368-136-43 (.712) mark at South Carolina.

Berson is assisted by Bert Molinary and Alex Maslow. Molinary begins his second season as an assistant coach at USC after eight seasons as the head coach at Division III Hampden-Sydney. Maslow is in his first season at South Carolina after four seasons as a standout goalkeeper at Furman. Ryan Sacko is in his first season as a volunteer assistant.


Clemson is coming off an 8-9-1 record in 2004. Head coach Trevor Adair’s squad returns six starters and 11 letterman from last season. Friday’s match also marks the season opener for the Tigers, who were picked to finish seventh in the ACC Preseason Poll.

Clemson leads the overall series with Carolina, 20-11-1. In games played in Clemson, the Gamecocks trail, 6-11-0. USC is looking for its second straight victory over the Tigers after last season’s 1-0 win in Columbia.

South Carolina plays its first home match on Wednesday, Sept. 6, when College of Charleston visits Columbia. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium. Wednesday’s match is “Showtime at the Stone.” Fans can bring a recent movie ticket stub and get in for only $1.