Oct. 2, 2005
GREENVILLE, N.C. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team won its inaugural game in Conference USA, defeating East Carolina, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon at Bunting Field in Greenville, N.C. The Gamecocks ran their win streak to four and improved to 4-5-0 and 1-0-0 in C-USA play. ECU dropped to 0-7-1 overall and 0-1-0 in league play.
“I’m extremely proud of our team today,” head coach Mark Berson said. “It was a good win in our first Conference USA game. It’s a very difficult place to play, and we turned things up a notch in the second half and came away with a win.”
South Carolina scored four second-half goals, and senior Josh Alcala was involved in all four of them. The Buda, Texas, native scored his second goal of the season and assisted on USC’s final three goals. Ayo Akinsete scored twice to bring his season total to a team-best four goals. Junior Mike Sambursky had a pair of assists and junior transfer Ralph Pace scored his first goal as a Gamecock and had an assist for three points in the victory.
It didn’t take long for the Gamecocks’ offense to get started. At the 5:52 mark, Akinsete headed home a goal off a pass from Pace. East Carolina responded in the 31st minute when Alex Morrow tied things up on a penalty kick goal. The score would remain at one all going into halftime.
Alcala kick started the Gamecocks’ scoring onslaught in the 60th minute when he scored off Sambursky’s throw in. In the 68th minute, Alcala fed Akinsete the ball on the breakaway and he netted a goal from nine yards out to make is 3-1.
The Pirates pulled within one at 71:06 when Matt Kowaleski scored from 15 yards out on a deflection. Danny Lundquist was credited with the assist.
Less than three minutes later, South Carolina extended its lead to 4-2. Samburksy and Alcala connected on a series of passes and then found Pace open from 23 yards out. Pace hit the back of the net for his first goal at USC.
Senior Ryan Deter put the match out of reach at the 86:01 mark as he beat ECU goalkeeper Chris Hicks. Alcala earned his third assist on Deter’s goal.
USC scored five goals in a match for the first time since a 5-1 victory over Winthrop on Nov. 3, 2002. The Gamecock out-shot the Pirates 23-15 and forced Hicks to make 10 saves. South Carolina freshman Mike Gustavson picked up five saves in goal.
South Carolina is back in action next weekend with a two-match Conference USA road trip. The Gamecocks will battle Memphis on Friday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. ET. Carolina will then make its way to Birmingham to face UAB on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 2 p.m. ET.