Oct. 28, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C. –
After an unplanned 11-day break from competing, the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-6-1, 3-1-1 C-USA) host Tulsa and Southern Methodist University in their final home matches of the regular season this weekend. The Gamecocks will face the Golden Hurricane on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. Conference USA leader SMU comes to Columbia Sunday, Oct. 30, for a 1 p.m. match. Both matches will be played at Stone Stadium on the Carolina campus.
Friday’s match against Tulsa is designated as “One Carolina” night. By wearing garnet, fans can be admitted to the match for $1. On Sunday against SMU, fans wearing a Halloween costume get in for free. There will be a Halloween party following the game. The first 100 fans at each match will receive a free adidas ski cap and a Gamecock memory band.
For both matches, fans can access live stats via Gametracker on South Carolina’s official athletics web site, www.USCsports.com. A live audio broadcast is also available on the site.
SOUTH CAROLINA UPDATE
Forwards Josh Alcala and Mike Sambursky share high scoring honors with 12 points apiece. Both strikers have scored three goals and have a team-high six assists. Sambursky is the team’s leading shot taker with 40 attempts. Ayo Akinsete is second in scoring with nine points on four goals and an assist. In Conference USA games, Alcala is Carolina’s leading scorer with eight points on two goals and four assists.
Freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson sports a 1.47 goals-against average in 1220:54 of action this season. The Aiken, S.C., product has collected 51 saves and one shutout.
Carolina has out-shot the opposition 215-177 but been out-scored 20-19 overall. In league games, USC has scored 10 goals while allowing just six.
South Carolina will honor its four seniors prior to Sunday’s match against SMU.
Eric Szeszycki, Greg Reece, Josh Alcala and Ryan Deter have enjoyed tremendous success in their four seasons at South Carolina. The group has combined to play in 281 matches and make 212 starts. The foursome has also scored 97 points, led Carolina to a pair of NCAA Tournaments and 38 wins.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL, UCF MATCHES RESCHEDULED
South Carolina was scheduled to play at Florida International and at UCF last weekend, but the matches were postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Wilma. Both contests have been re-scheduled for next weekend. The Gamecocks battle FIU on Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. before playing at UCF on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 1 p.m.
CONFERENCE USA RACE
In what is the final regular season weekend for six teams, SMU is in a position to clinch the regular season title after winning its first seven C-USA matches this season. The Gamecocks are the only team with a chance to overtake SMU. The Mustangs must win at least one of their weekend matches against East Carolina or South Carolina to clinch the title outright. If SMU were to lose or tie at East Carolina, the door would be open for USC. The Gamecocks would have to win their remaining four matches, including this weekend’s contests with Tulsa and SMU, to have a shot at the regular season title. If SMU tied in its match at East Carolina and USC won out, the Gamecocks would tie SMU in the final regular season standings and by virute of Carolina’s head-to-head victory, win the title outright. If SMU were to lose to East Carolina, and South Carolina were to win out, the Gamecocks would also claim the regular season championship.
To secure one of the eight spots in the conference tournament, USC must win at least one of its final four matches.
South Carolina will meet Tulsa for the first time ever on Friday night. In 2004, TU came within a game of a trip to the Final Four. The Golden Hurricane were picked to finish second in the C-USA Preseason Poll.
Tulsa brings a 4-5-6 overall record and a 1-3-3 mark in C-USA games. In its last outing, TU fell, 3-2, at home to SMU. The Golden Hurricane’s lone conference win came against UCF, 2-0, on Oct. 16, but Tulsa has forged ties with Memphis, UAB, and Florida International. TU’s league losses came at Kentucky and Marshall.
Tulsa is led by senior Kyle Brown, who has scored 21 points on nine goals and three assists this season. Sophomore Eric Burkholder is second on the club with 10 points on a pair of goals and a team-high six assists.
Redshirt freshman Tyrel Lacey has assumed goalkeeping duties for the Golden Hurricane in the last five matches. Lacey owns a 1.53 goals-against average to go with 29 saves and one shutout. Tom McIntosh is in his 11th season as the head coach at Tulsa.
One of the hottest teams in the country, SMU brings a seven-match win streak and a 9-4-2 record into the weekend. The Mustangs sport an unblemished record in Conference USA games at 7-0-0. SMU will play at East Carolina on Friday before making the trip to Columbia for Sunday’s match.
SMU is ranked in all four of the national polls this week. The Mustangs are tied for No. 9 in the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America Poll and No. 24 in the Soccer American Poll.
Senior Duke Hashimoto, who was named this week’s College Soccer News National Player of the Week, paces the Mustangs offensively with 17 points (7 goals, 3 assists). Junior Jay Needham is second in scoring with 12 points on six goals.
Sophomore goalkeeper Steve Sando has registered a 1.66 goals-against average in 1141:47 of action this season. Sandbo has collected 41 saves and two shutouts.
Schellas Hyndman is in his 22nd season as the head coach at SMU.
USC-SMU SERIES HISTORY
South Carolina has played SMU more than any other of its conference opponents. The Gamecocks trail the Mustangs, 2-4-0, in the all-time series., but both of USC’s wins came in Columbia. The Gamecocks beat SMU, 1-0, in 1988 to go to the Final Four and 2-1 in 1997 in the Umbro Kickoff Classic.
In the last meeting between the two teams, SMU defeated Carolina, 3-2, in Charleston, S.C.
CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT ALTERED
The postponement and rescheduling of South Carolina and East Carolina’ss matches in Florida, a new postseason tournament set up have been implemented. The regular season champion will now host the entire C-USA Tournament, rather than playing the tournament at campus sites. Games will begin on Nov. 9, continue on Nov. 11 with the semifinals and wrap up with the title match set for Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. ET. The championship match will be televised live nationally on CSTV.
The tournament winner clinches the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.