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NCAA First Round Notes
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Nov. 17, 2005

Conference USA Champion South Carolina (12-6-2) heads to Winston-Salem, N.C., to take on No. 19 Wake Forest in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 18. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Spry Stadium. A live audio broadcast of the game will be available on South Carolina’s official athletics web site, Fans can also track the match in progress via Gametracker on the site. The winner of the match will advance to play at No. 10-seed Old Dominion (15-3-2) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m.

• The Gamecocks are playing in the NCAA Tournament for the 18th time in school history, and the 12th time in the last 15 years.

• Carolina enters NCAA play fresh off winning the Conference USA Tournament title, the first postseason tournament championship ever for South Carolina soccer. The Gamecocks received an automatic bid into the field of 48.

• The Gamecocks appear in three of the four national polls this week. Carolina moved up from No. 23 to No. 17 in the Soccer America poll. USC is also No. 17 in the College Soccer News Top 30 poll, up from 28th a week ago. Carolina made its debut in the Soccer Times Top 25 at No. 23 this week. Wake Forest is No. 19 in the NSCAA poll and No. 23, according to Soccer America.

• After stumbling to an 0-5-0 start, Carolina has gone 12-1-2 in its last 15 matches. The Gamecocks are unbeaten in their last seven contests.

• Senior Josh Alcala, a first-team all-Conference USA selection, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Gamecocks’ win over Memphis Nov. 11 at the conference tournament. Alcala scored 23 points in 19 matches, including leading C-USA in scoring with 18 points during league play.

• Friday’s match against Wake marks USC’s sixth straight match away from home. The Gamecocks have grown accustomed to playing on the road. Including the team’s final two regular season matches and Conference USA Tournament action, South Carolina played five road games in 10 days.

• South Carolina is looking for its first win in NCAA play since the 1998 season, when the Gamecocks beat Virginia Commonwealth at home in the first round. The Gamecocks’ last five contests in the NCAA Tournament have been decided by one goal.

• USC and Wake Forest have met once before in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks secured a second-round win over the Demon Deacons, 5-1, in Winston-Salem on Nov. 19, 1989.

The Demon Deacons, who were the No. 1 overall seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, bring an 11-7-2 record into Friday’s match. Wake Forest is coming off a 2-1 loss to Maryland in the quarterfinals of last week’s ACC Tournament. The Terrapins are the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s NCAA field. Wake finished with a 1-5-2 record and in eighth place in the ACC regular season standings.

Justin Moose is the Deacs’ leading scorer with 19 points on five goals and nine assists this season. Michael Lahoud is second with 17 points on six goals and five assists. Goalkeeper Brian Edwards has an 0.94 goals-against average in 1,846:23 of action. Edwards has collected eight shuouts and 55 saves. Wake has out-scored the opposition, 38-19, this season. Jay Vidovich is in his 12th season as the head coach at Wake Forest.

South Carolina and Wake Forest have met a total of 26 times on the soccer pitch and the series is dead-locked at 11-11-4. USC owns a 6-4-2 advantage in Winston-Salem, including a 1-0 win in the last game played there on Sept. 24, 2004. The Demon Deacons won an earlier meeting this season between the two teams, 3-0, on Sept. 9 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

• Senior Josh Alcala, South Carolina’s leading scorer with 23 points (7 goals, 9 assists), is out for the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury in the semifinal against Memphis.

• Junior Mike Sambursky, a first-team all-Conference USA pick, leads South Carolina with 24 points on eight goals and eight assists. Junior forward Ayo Akinsete is tied for second with seven goals and has notched a pair of assists for a total of 16 points. Senior midfielder Eric Szeszycki has totaled 10 points (4 goals , 2 assists).

• Goalkeeper Mike Gustavson, the C-USA Freshman of the Year, sports a 1.15 GAA in 1,880:54 of action and has four shutouts.

• Carolina has out-shot (317-279) and out-scored (36-24) the opposition. In Conference USA games, USC scored 24 goals while allowing just nine.

Senior Greg Reece is heading home for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year hails from Clemmons, N.C., near Winston-Salem, and attended West Forsyth High School. Along with Reece, senior Ryan Deter is also from North Carolina. A native of Raleigh, he graduated from Leesville Road High School.

Four Gamecocks were named to the all-tournament team at last week’s Conference USA Championship, including freshman Mike Gustavson, juniors Ralph Pace and Ryan Leeton and senior Eric Szeszycki.

Six South Carolina men’s soccer players were named to the all-Conference USA team. South Carolina also collected two of the four individual awards as senior Greg Reece earned Defensive Player of the Year honors and goalkeeper Mike Gustavson was named C-USA’s Freshman of the Year.

Reece was joined on the all-Conference USA first team by teammates Josh Alcala and Mike Sambursky. In addition to earning Freshman-of-the-Year honors, Gustavson made the second team and the all-Freshman team.

Junior defender Ryan Leeton and junior midfielder Ralph Pace both made the all-Conference third team.

South Carolina tied with Conference USA regular season champion SMU for the most players on the All-Conference USA first team with three, and with the most representatives on the first, second and third teams combined.