Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Oct. 6, 2005

Memphis-UAB Game Notes
dot.gifspacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

The South Carolina Gamecocks (4-5-0, 1-0-0 Conference USA) conclude their four-match road trip this weekend with Conference USA contests at Memphis (4-4-1, 0-1-1 C-USA) on Friday, Oct. 7, and at UAB (5-4-1, 0-1-1 C-USA) on Sunday, Oct. 9. The Gamecocks and the 2004 Conference USA champion Tigers tangle at 8 p.m. ET at Rose Soccer Complex. USC will head to Birmingham for Sunday’s contest with the Blazers, set for 2 p.m. ET on West Campus Field.

The Gamecocks are in their first season playing in Conference USA. A longtime independent in men’s soccer, South Carolina is competing for a conference championship for the first time since 1994. C-USA features a nine-match round-robin schedule during the regular season. The top four teams during the regular season will host the fifth through eighth-place teams in the first round of the C-USA Tournament. From there, the best-seeded team remaining after the first round of play will host the semifinals and final. The tournament winner claims C-USA’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tourney.

South Carolina is riding a four-match win streak as it heads into the second weekend of Conference USA play. The Gamecocks are 4-5-0 overall and have a 1-0-0 mark in league action after winning at East Carolina, 5-2, in their inaugural C-USA match. The regular season is over halfway through with eight contests remaining.

With the win over East Carolina, the Gamecocks earned three points in the conference standings and sit a half-game out of first place through one weekend of play.

A trio of Gamecock players currently share the team scoring lead with nine points apiece. Junior forward Ayo Akinsete is Carolina’s leading goal scorer with four. The London, England, native also has one assist for a total of nine points. Junior forward Mike Sambursky and senior forward Josh Alcala have both scored a pair of goals and have five assists to lead USC. Senior midfielder Eric Szeszycki has six points and three goals.

Freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson has roamed the net for all 840:54 of action this season. Gustavson sports a 1.71 goals-against average and has 43 saves.

The Gamecocks have out-shot the opposition, 142-128 and have taken 52 corner kicks to their opponents’ 51.

Memphis is 4-4-1 overall and 0-1-1 in Conference USA coming into Friday’s match with the Gamecocks. During the opening weekend of conference play, the Tigers forged a 1-1 tie at Tulsa and fell at SMU, 2-1. Memphis, which won the 2004 Conference USA title, was picked to finish third in the coaches’ preseason poll.

Tiger senior Dayton O’Brien was the C-USA preseason co-offensive player of the year. O’Brien has scored 11 points this season on three goals and a team-high five assists. Andy Metcalf leads the team with 16 points on seven goals and a pair of assists. Marcus McCarty (6 goals) and Jared Britcher (5 goals, 2 assists) are tied for second on the team with 12 points. Goalkeeper Tyler Strom has started the Tigers’ last two matches and saved 24 shots in that span. Strom owns a 1.62 goals-against average in 278:04 of action this season.

The Tigers are led by seventh-year head coach Richie Grant. USC and Memphis will meet for the first time ever on Friday night.

The Blazers have a 5-4-1 record overall and an 0-1-1 mark in C-USA matches. UAB fell to SMU, 2-1, and tied No. 17 Tulsa, 1-1, in a pair of road contests last weekend.

Sandy Gbandi leads UAB in scoring with 12 points (4 goals, 4 assists). Brian Garcia (3 goals, 1 assist) and C-USA preseason co-offensive player of the year Leandro de Oliveira (2 goals, 3 assists) are tied for second with seven points.

UAB goalkeeper A.J. Robles owns a 1.49 goals-against average in 903:38 this season. Robles has stopped 55 shots and notched one shutout.

Mike Getman is in his 14th season as the Blazers’ head coach.

South Carolina is 2-1 against UAB all-time, but will play for the first time in Birmingham this weekend. Both of the Gamecocks’ wins in the series came at neutral sites, while their lone loss was in Columbia in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. The Blazers scored in overtime to claim a 3-2 win. The Gamecocks and Blazers also played in 1995 and 1998.

Junior forward Ayo Akinsete paces the Gamecocks with four goals this season, including three of the game-winning variety. Two of his game-winners came in overtime, against Loyola-Chicago on Sept. 18 and at Charlotte on Sept. 24. Akinsete also scored the game-winner at East Carolina.

Akinsete has now scored seven game-winning goals during his career at USC.

Senior forward Josh Alcala has been a catalyst for the Gamecocks during their current four-match win streak. Alcala is tied for first on the team with nine points, and all nine have come during the stretch of victories. On Sunday at East Carolina, the Buda, Texas, natice turned in perhaps his best performance of the season by scoring five points on one goal and three assists against the Pirates in USC’s 5-2 win.

South Carolina put five goals on the scoreboard on Sunday in its Conference USA opener at East Carolina, marking the first time a Gamecock team has achieved that feat since Nov. 3, 2002, in a 5-1 victory over Winthrop.

The Gamecocks return to the friendly confines of Stone Stadium next weekend. USC hosts Kentucky on Friday, Oct. 14, in its C-USA home opener. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Marshall comes to Columbia on Sunday, Oct. 16, for 2 p.m. match.

Friday’s match is “Mad Hatter Night.” Fans can wear a Carolina hat to the match and get in for $1. Sunday is Family Fun Day and kids are admitted free with a paying adult.

• South Carolina has out-scored (13 to 6) and out-shot (87 to 53) its opponent in the team’s four wins.

• Nine different players have scored at least one point for the Gamecocks. Ralph Pace and Ryan Deter recorded their first points of the season against East Carolina on Oct. 2.

• Six Gamecock players have started all nine matches this season: Ayo Akinsete, Greg Reece, Eric Szeszycki, Ralph Pace, Josh Alcala and Makan Hislop.

• South Carolina is still looking for its first shutout of the season.

• Senior forward Ryan Deter has seen action in each of Carolina’s last five matches after missing the first four with an injured foot.

• Sebastian Lindholm, who led USC in scoring with 16 points (6 goals, 4 assists) as a freshman last season, will miss the 2005 season with a torn ACL.

• Following a four-match road trip that wraps up this weekend, South Carolina will play four of its last six regular season matches at home.

• USC has two players on the roster that are from the state of Tennessee. Freshmen Ryan Jenkins and Kyle Franklin are both from Maryville, Tenn., where they graduated from Maryville High.

• Seniors Greg Reece and Eric Szeszycki, along with junior Ryan Leeton, serve as the Gamecocks’ team captains.