Oct. 30, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina men’s soccer rolled to a 3-0 victory over No. 9 Southern Methodist University in Conference USA action Sunday afternoon at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium in Columbia. Carolina handed the regular season C-USA champion its only league loss and halted the Mustangs’ nine-match unbeaten streak.
“I’m very proud of the performance today and this weekend,” Gamecock head coach Mark Berson said. “SMU has put together a tremendous stretch, so this is win, for us, is even more significant. This team is playing very well. Scoring seven goals against those two teams (Tulsa and SMU) and allowing only one goal on the course of the weekend is a good performance. These guys has never stopped believing in themselves. They’re a resilient group.”
South Carolina improved to 8-6-1 overall and 5-1-1 in league action while SMU dropped to 10-5-2 on the season and wrapped up its conference schedule with an 8-1-0 record. The Gamecocks also beat Tulsa, 4-1, on Friday night.
The Gamecocks got on the scoreboard at the 24:37 mark. Sophomore J.D. Moon played the ball inside the 18 to junior defender Makan Hislop on the run. Hislop dribbled the ball and fired it into the lower right corner of the net. The goal was Hislop’s first of the season and the third of his career.
Junior forward Ayo Akinsete extended the Gamecocks’ lead to 2-0 in the 78th minute. Junior forward Mike Sambursky set up the score, threading the ball to his classmate inside the box. Akinsete launched a shot from the left corner of the six-yard box and placed it past SMU goalkeeper Matt Wideman and into the right corner of the net.
Senior Josh Alcala capped South Carolina’s scoring effort in the 83rd minute on a takeaway. Alcala stole the ball from the Mustangs and promptly rifled the ball into the back of the net from 26-yards out. The goal was Alcala’s fifth of the season and the senior leads the Gamecocks in scoring with 17 points this season.
USC freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson collected four saves and notched his second shutout of the season. SMU goalie Matt Wideman finished with four saves.
South Carolina’s three goals marked the most the Mustangs had given up since a 4-1 loss to Saint Louis on Sept. 16. It was also SMU’s first loss in nine games, dating back to a 1-0 loss to then-No. 1 New Mexico (2-0) on Sept. 23, also the only other time the Mustangs have been shut out in 2005.
Meanwhile, South Carolina has rebounded from an 0-5 start and owns an 8-1-1 record in its last 10 outings. Sunday’s win was the Gamecocks’ second over a ranked team this season after beating No. 25 UNC Wilmington on Sept. 21. Carolina is now 3-4-0 all-time against SMU, including a perfect 3-0 record in Columbia.
South Carolina sent its four seniors out with a memorable win. Josh Alcala, Ryan Deter, Greg Reece and Eric Szeszycki played their final regular season home match on Sunday. The foursome was honored prior to Sunday’s match for their contributions to the Gamecock soccer program.
“I’m very pleased for our seniors,” Berson said. “I want to recognize them. They’ve had an outstanding career. They are all good students, and they’ve done a wonderful job on and off the field. They represent everything that we want here at South Carolina. It was great to send them off with a weekend like this.”
The Gamecocks are on the road next weekend to make up a pair of postponed matches at Florida International and UCF. Carolina plays at FIU on Friday, Nov. 4, and at UCF on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 1p.m. to wrap up its regular season slate. The Gamecocks have also secured a spot in the Conference USA Tournament, which will be played Nov. 9, 11 and 13 in Dallas, Texas, on the SMU campus.