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Oct. 26, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team hosts Tulsa and No. 9 SMU in its final regular season home matches this weekend at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium.

The Gamecocks will take on TU on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 30, Carolina will tangle with Conference USA leader SMU at 1 p.m. With the regular season winding down, this weekend is an important one in the 2005 Conference USA race.

Carolina will offer a special giveaway for both matches this weekend. The first 100 fans through the gates on Friday and Sunday will receive a South Carolina adidas ski cap and a Gamecock memory band. Friday’s match is designated at “One Carolina.” Fans wearing garnet will be admitted for $1. On Sunday, USC soccer will celebrate Halloween. Fans wearing a Halloween costume receive free admission and a Halloween Party will be held after the game.

Prior to Sunday’s match, USC will honor its four seniors, Josh Alcala, Ryan Deter, Greg Reece and Eric Szeszycki, for their contributions to the Gamecock program.

South Carolina returns to the pitch after a 11-day layoff. The Gamecocks were scheduled to travel to the state of Florida last weekend for contests at Florida International and UCF. The trip was postponed due to the approach of Hurricane Wilma.

The Gamecocks sport a 6-6-1 record overall and a 3-1-1 mark in Conference USA play heading into the weekend. Carolina is currently third in the Conference USA standings, but has a chance to make up ground with four matches to play.

Forwards Josh Alcala and Mike Sambursky pace the Gamecocks’ offensive attack with 12 points apiece on three goals and six assists. Ayo Akinsete leads USC with four goals and is third on the team with nine total points. Freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson owns a 1.47 goals-against average and has 51 saves and one shutout.

Tulsa, which played in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season, brings a 4-5-6 record into Friday’s match and a 1-3-3 mark in conference games. The Golden Hurricane was picked to finish second in the league during the preseason.

SMU is currently riding a seven-match win streak with an undefeated record in Conference USA. The Mustangs were picked to win C-USA in the preseason and have a 9-4-2 record. SMU is ranked in all four of the national polls this week.