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Sept. 22, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Gamecocks (2-5-0) travel up the road to Charlotte, N.C., to take on the Charlotte 49ers (2-3-0) on Saturday, Sept. 24, for their final non-conference match of the 2005 regular season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Transamerica Field. Fans can follow the match live via Gametracker on USC’s official athletic web site,

Charlotte Game Notes in PDF Format
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South Carolina (2-5-0) is aiming for its third straight victory after back-to-back wins over Loyola-Chicago and No. 25 UNC-Wilmington. After enduring five losses to open the season, the Gamecocks captured their first win on Sept. 18, a 2-1 double overtime victory over Loyola-Chicago in the adidas-Gamecock Classic. Carolina followed Sunday’s win by snapping No. 25 UNC-Wilmington’s four-match win streak, with a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks scored more goals against the Seahawks than they had all season long to that point. Coming into the match with UNCW, South Carolina had put the ball in the back of the net just three times in six matches.

Senior midfielder Eric Szeszycki has set the Gamecocks’ high mark with three goals, all of which have come in USC’s last two matches. Junior forward Mike Sambursky (2 goals, 2 assists) shares the team lead with Szeszycki in points, with each player recording six. Sambursky also paces Carolina with 25 shot attempts. Junior forward Ayo Akinsete has three points on a goal and an assist. Freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson has played all 658:19 this season and owns a 1.78 goals-against average. The Aiken, S.C., native has registered 32 saves.

The Gamecocks have out-shot their opponents 107-99 and have taken 45 corner kicks to their opponents’ 42.

Similar to South Carolina, Charlotte opened the season with three straight losses but has come back to win its last two matches. The 49ers defeated Radford, 3-2, in their home opener on Wednesday night. Two of Charlotte’s three losses came on the road to ranked teams, No. 24 UNC-Greensboro, 4-0, and No. 14 Virginia, 2-0. Adam Rudd paces the 49ers with 20 shots and five points on two goals and an assist. Evan Harding also had two goals and Floyd Franks has tallied one goal and one assist.

Josh Beacham had handled the majority of the goalkeeping duties. Beacham sports a 1.32 goals-against average and has made 13 saves in 340:29 on action betwen the posts.

Head coach John Tart is in his 11th year at Charlotte, which plays in the Atlantic-10 Conference.

The Gamecocks hold the advantage in the all-time series with the 49ers, 10-4-3, including a 6-0-1 record in Charlotte. The 49ers topped Carolina in 2004 in Columbia, 1-0.

Charlotte is one of four teams from the state of North Carolina that appear on the Gamecocks’ schedule. South Carolina travels to Greenville, N.C., for its next match, the team’s Conference USA opener against East Carolina on Oct. 2. USC lost to Wake Forest, 3-0, on Sept. 9 in Chapel Hill, N.C. and fell at UNC, 2-0, on Sept. 11.

Senior captain Eric Szeszycki solved South Carolina’s offensive woes by scoring three goals in the last two games. The Round Rock, Texas, native notched his first goal of the season to tie Loyola-Chicago, 1-1, with six minutes to play in regulation on Sept. 18. Carolina went on to win, 2-1, in double overtime. Against No. 25 UNC-Wilmington, Szeszycki tallied two goals, 1:29 apart. He now has nine career goals. Interestingly enough, the first six goals were all on penalty kicks, while in 2005, his three goals have all come in the run of play. A Conference USA Preseason Player to Watch, Szeszycki is c urrently tied with Mike Sambursky as Carolina’s scoring leader with six points.

Gamecock head coach Mark Berson captured career win No. 370 on Wednesday night against UNC-Wilmington. Berson, now in his 28th season as USC’s only men’s soccer coach, has a record of 370-141-73 with the Gamecocks. Including one season at The Citadel, Berson’s career record stands at 381-146-43.

Three Gamecock players have earned all-tournament honors this season. Senior defender Greg Reece and junior defender Ryan Leeton represented the Gamecocks on the all-tournament squad at the North Carolina Nike Classic. Senior midfielder Eric Szeszycki joined Reece in garnering all-tourney honors at the adidas-South Carolina Gamecock Classic.

Seven of the Gamecocks’ opponents appear of the four national polls this week. North Carolina is No. 2 (Soccer America), Wake Forest is No. 13, Clemson is 17th (NSCAA), UNC Wilmington comes in at No. 25 (NSCAA), Florida International is ranked No. 25 (Soccer America), UAB is 25th (Soccer Times) and Memphis is No. 25 (College Soccer News).

South Carolina is 1-2 so far this season against teams ranked in the top 25 at the time of the match. USC took losses in Chapel Hill,N.C., to No. 16 Wake Forest, 3-0, on Sept. 9 and to No. 2 North Caroina, 2-0, on Sept. 11. The Gamecocks beat UNC-Wilmington, 4-2, on Sept. 21 in Columbia.

Beginning with Saturday’s contest at Charlotte, South Carolina embarks on a four-match road swing. On Oct. 2, the Gamecocks will play their inaugural Conference USA match at East Carolina. The following weekend, USC will travel to Memphis on Friday, Oct. 7, and at UAB on Sunday, Oct. 9. South Carolina returns to Stone Stadium on Friday, Oct. 14, for its conference home opener against Kentucky.

• Sophomore Ramon Paracat recorded his first career point with an assist in the UNCW match on Sept. 21

• Junior transfer Rob Charest scored his first goal in a USC uniform against UNCW on Sept. 21.

• The Gamecocks are 2-2 at home, 0-2 on the road and 0-2 in neutral site matches in 2005.

• Senior Josh Alcala and junior Mike Sambursky both assisted on two goals in Carolina’s win over UNC-Wilmington Sept. 21.