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FIU, UCF Notes
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Nov. 2, 2005

The South Carolina men’s soccer team (8-6-1, 5-1-1 C-USA) hits the road for its final weekend of the regular season. The Gamecocks will wrap up Conference USA play with a pair of make-up matches at Florida International on Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. and at UCF on Sunday, Nov. 6. South Carolina was originally scheduled to play Conference USA’s two Florida schools Oct. 21 and 23, but the matches were postponed due to the approach of Hurricane Wilma.

After starting the season 0-5-0, South Carolina has fought back to post an 8-1-1 record in its last 10 outings. The Gamecocks are currently tied for second in the Conference USA standings. A win or a tie at Florida International on Friday night will secure a second-place finish in the league standings and the No. 2 seed in the Conference USA Tournament.

Last weekend, the Gamecocks defeated Tulsa, 4-1, and then knocked off No. 9 SMU, 3-0. The Mustangs had already clinched the Conference USA regular season title, but South Carolina handed them their only league loss.

• Senior Josh Alcala, this week’s Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, paces the Gamecock offense with 17 points on five goals and seven assists. Junior forward Mike Sambursky is second on the team with 16 points on four goals and a team-best eight assists. Junior forward Ayo Akinsete leads Carolina with six goals and is third on the team with 13 points.
• Freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson sports a 1.35 goals-against average in 1,400:54 of action. Gustavson has compiled 59 saves and recorded two shutouts.
• Carolina has out-shot (248-204) and out-scored (26-21) the opposition. In league games, USC has scored 17 goals while allowing just seven.

South Carolina leads Conference USA with a 0.97 goals-against average in league contests. In their last four outings, the Gamecocks have only given up two goals, including shutouts against Kentucky (1-0, Oct. 14) and ninth-ranked SMU (3-0, Oct. 16). Overall, USC has a 1.35 goals-against average, and in its last 10 games has a 1.05 GAA.

Senior Josh Alcala and junior Mike Sambursky are tied for first in total assists in Conference USA games. Both players, along with Tulsa’s Eric Burkholder have collected five assists against league competition. Alcala and Sambursky are also tied for first with an 0.71 assist-per-match average. Sambursky is also tied for first with eight assists in all games, while Alcala is tied for fifth.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a team with the travel schedule that South Carolina has coming up. Over the next week, the South Carolina men’s soccer team will travel 2,311 miles and play three matches in six days. The Gamecocks travel to the state of Florida this weekend to make-up a pair of matches that were canceled by Hurricane Wilma. Carolina will travel to Miami by bus for Friday night’s match at Florida International. On Saturday, the team will get back on the bus and drive to Orlando for Sunday afternoon’s match at UCF. The Gamecocks will return to Columbia on Sunday night, and first thing Tuesday morning they will board an airplane to fly to Dallas, Texas, for the Conference USA Tournament. Carolina will open play with its quarterfinal match on Wednesday.

•Florida International is 7-5-2 overall and 3-2-2- in Conference USA games. Last weekend, the Golden Panthers went on the road to defeat Memphis, 1-0, in overtime, but fell at UAB, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon.
• Caron Williams leads FIU in scoring with 15 points on seven goals and one assist. Danny Vazquez, Levi Coleman and Lucas Scudeler share a three-way tie for second on the squad in scoring with nine points.
• Goalkeeper Shawn Crowe has played 1,148 minutes in goal. Crowe boasts a 1.41 goals-against average and four shut outs to go with 52 saves.
• Karl Kremser is in his 26th season as the head coach at FIU.
• The Golden Panthers are currently tied for fifth in the C-USA standings with 11 points.

With its entrance into Conference USA, South Carolina has faced a host of new opponents, but of late, Florida International has been a standby on the USC’s schedule. The Gamecocks and Golden Panthers will play for the fifth straight year in 2005. Carolina has a 5-0-1 record in the all-time series between the two schools, including a 3-1 victory in last season’s regular season finale in Columbia. The lone tie in the series came in 1987 (1-1) in Columbia. USC is 2-0-0 in matches played in Miami.

• UCF brings a 6-7-1 overall record and a 1-5-1 mark in league games into the weekend. The Golden Knights have lost five straight matches, including a 1-0 decision at UAB and a 3-0 loss at Memphis last weekend. • Prior to Sunday’s match with the Gamecocks, UCF hosts East Carolina on Friday night.
• Billy Judino leads UCF with 10 points on three goals and four assists this seas
on. Six players on the club have scored two ore more goals this season.
• Ryan McIntosh has played all 1,280 minutes in goal this season. He has stopped 84 shots and owns a 1.41 goals-against average and two shutouts.
• UCF is currently in ninth-place in the Conference USA standings. The Golden Knights must win both their matches this weekend to overtake Tulsa and claim a spot in the conference tournament.
• Brent Erwin is in his first season as the head coach at UCF.

South Carolina holds 2-0-0 advantage in the all-time series with the UCF. Sunday will mark the first meeting between the two teams since 1980. The Gamecocks beat the Golden Knights in Orlando in 1979, 1-0. In 1980, Carolina won, 5-0, in Columbia.

The postponement and rescheduling of South Carolina and East Carolina’s matches in Florida, a new postseason tournament set up have been implemented. The regular season champion, SMU, 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. All games will be played at Westcott Field on the SMU campus. The championship match will be televised live nationally on CSTV.

The tournament winner clinches the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Senior Josh Alcala was selected Conference USA’s Offensive Player of the Week the league office Monday, becoming the third Gamecock to earn conference weekly honors this season. The Buda, Texas, native was also named to Soccer America’s National Team of the Week for the second time in his career.

Alcala led South Carolina a 3-0 victory over No. 9 SMU on Sunday, handing the Mustangs their first conference loss of the season and snapping their nine-match undefeated streak. The senior scored the third and final goal in the victory on Senior Day. He also registered a goal and an assist in a 4-1 conference win against Tulsa on Friday. Alcala leads the Gamecocks with 17 points this season (five goals, seven assists).

South Carolina is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and Alcala has scored all 17 of his points during that stretch. Alcala also leads the Gamecocks in scoring in conference games with 13 points (four goals, five assists).

Not only has South Carolina freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson posted a 1.35 goals-against average to this point in the season, he has been even better in Conference USA play. The Aiken, S.C., product owns an 0.97 GAA in seven league games, which ranks second among C-USA `keepers. Gustavson’s GAA in all games is the third-best among league competitors.

Gustavson has manned the Gamecocks’ goal for all 1,400:54 and made 59 saves. He has recorded a pair of shutouts. Gustavson was named to Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week for his performance against Tulsa and No. 9 SMU.

South Carolina head coach Mark Berson won his 375th career match on Oct. 28 against Tulsa. Berson, now in his 28th season at USC’s only men’s soccer coach, has a record of 376-142-44 at Carolina. Including one season at The Citadel, Berson’s career record stands at 387-147-44. Coming into the season, he ranked No. 5 among active Division I coaches with 379 wins. Berson was also 12th on the all-time wins list heading into 2005.

When the Gamecocks have mounted any offense this season, it has bred success. South Carolina has come out a winner in all but one game this season in when it has scored a goal. Five of Carolina’s six defeats were via shutout.

South Carolina soundly defeated ninth-ranked SMU, 3-0, on Oct. 31. Not only did the Gamecocks hand the Mustangs their first loss and only loss in Conference USA play, but they also halted SMU’s nine-match unbeaten streak. SMU had not lost since Sept. 23 to then-No. 2 New Mexico, 2-0. That match was also the only other time this season the Mustangs had been held scoreless. The victory also marked the Gamecocks’ second win over a ranked opponent this season as Carolina beat No. 25 UNC-Wilmington, 4-2, on Sept. 21.

• South Carolina has scored 17 of its 27 goals this season in the second half. In Conference USA play, the Gamecocks have scored four goals in the first compared to 14 in the final 45 minutes.
• Sophomore midfielder J.D. Moon collected three assists in Carolina’s pair of wins over the weekend. He had a foot in both game-winning goals. Moon assisted on two goals against Tulsa and one versus SMU.
• The Gamecocks will look to stay unbeaten on the road in Conference USA play this weekend in Florida. Currently, South Carolina is 2-0-0 and is the only team that hasn’t lost a road match.
• In Carolina’s last 10 matches, it has out-scored the opposition 25-11.
• Josh Alcala, Eric Szeszycki, Ralph Pace, Makan Hislop, Ryan Leeton, Greg Reece, Ayo Akinsete and Mike Gustavson have started all 15 matches for the Gamecocks this season.