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Aug. 25, 2006

Box Score | Photo Gallery

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 24 South Carolina men’s soccer team fell to No. 5 Clemson, 4-3, Friday night in a back-and-forth affair at Stone Stadium in Columbia. A crowd of 5,009, the 10th-largest in school history, was on hand to witness the match, which was the season opener for both teams.

Clemson senior Dane Richards scored two goals, including the game-winner at the 82:28 mark. Sophomore David Smith had a pair of goals, the first of his career, for the Gamecocks.

“I thought we showed great effort tonight,” Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. “You could tell it was the first game of the year. Both teams played with a lot of emotion. The mistakes we made on defense were not due to a lack of effort. We can learn a lot from this game. We played with a lot of young players tonight and that bodes well for this team.”

For much of the game, South Carolina seemed to be a step ahead. The Gamecocks drew first blood in the 26th minute on Smith’s first career goal. The Arlington, Texas, product picked up a loose ball just inside the 18-yard box and one-timed it right to left for the score.

Clemson tied things up in the 41st minute when Mark Buccholz scored on a free kick.

The Gamecocks regained the lead just before halftime. Senior Rob Charest knocked the ball into the back of the net from the far post. Freshmen Schuyler Reardon and Cory Lewis were credited with assists on the goal.

The Tigers wasted little time tying the game back up at the 45:43 mark when Frederico Moojen tallied a goal off a corner kick that was played wide. Hector Quintanar and Richards assisted on the play.

Less than five minutes later, Smith hit paydirt again for the Gamecocks. Freshman Jeff Scannella played a wide corner kick to Smith and he bent the ball high over Tiger goalkeeper Phil Marfuggi and into the top left corner of the net.

The score remained 3-2 until the 72nd minute when Richards scored his first goal of the match. South Carolina misplayed a ball of defense and Richards accelerated to the loose ball and kicked it into an empty net.

In the 83rd minute, Moojen passed the ball to Richards, who found himself sprinting full steam and with open space in a one-on-one situation with Carolina goalkeeper Mike Gustavson. Richards knocked the ball into the net for the game winner.

Gustavson finished with two saves for South Carolina and Marfuggi had four stops for Clemson.

Berson praised the capacity crowd.

“I have to salute the outstanding crowd we had here tonight. What an electric atmosphere and a great night for college soccer.”

South Carolina will hit the road for its second match of the season on Monday, Aug. 28, at Wofford. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

“This group is going to be okay. We battled and showed a lot of heart,” Berson said. “This one hurts, make no mistake, but we’ll be okay. “