Sept. 5, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. —The No. 21 South Carolina men’s soccer team got an outstanding effort from its senior class in a 3-2 victory over Centenary (La.) Tuesday night at Stone Stadium in Columbia. Seniors Mike Sambursky, Rob Charest and Ayo Akinsete scored goals as the Gamecocks captured their third straight win and improved to 3-1-0. Centenary fell to 1-2-0 on the young season.
“We hung in there and found a way to win tonight in spite of not playing well. Sometimes the game takes twists and turns.,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. “We got up 2-0 and kind of cut our motors off a little bit. Centenary deserves all the credit in the world because they really fought back. Not many teams come and knock two goals in and level the game. I thought our guys deserved a lot of credit. They didn’t really get disheartened, they kept punching away and pushing and were able to get the game winner.”
With the match tied 2-2, Sambursky played a perfect pass to Akinsete’s feet in the inside the 18-yard box and Akinsete buried the ball into the back of the net at the 83:44 mark for the decisive goal.
Carolina took a 2-0 lead in the first 17 minutes of the match, but Centenary battled back to tie the match in the 70th minute.
Sambursky opened the scoring with his second goal in as many games. Sophomore David Smith served the ball into the 18-yard box and classmate Spencer Lewis hit Sambursky inside the six-yard box. The senior co-captain deposited the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead at the 7:22 mark.
Carolina extended its lead to 2-0 on a beautiful strike by senior Charest. Charest accepted a pass from Sambursky and drilled the ball from nearly 30 yards out over the goalkeeper’s head, connecting on his second goal of the year.
The Gents pulled back within a goal at the 30:32 mark on a goal by Gabriel Silvas and Dustin Forward earned an assist on the goal. The score remained, 2-1, until the 69:22 mark when Centenary found the back of the net again. Silvas got behind the Gamecock defense, but his shot was knocked down by Carolina goalkeeper Mike Gustavson. Aaron Volanksi picked up the loose ball after the save the scored the game-tying goal.
Gustavson finished with four saves for the Gamecocks and Donnie Henderson had four stops for the Gents. Carolina senior Ralph Pace also saved a ball off the line.
South Carolina out-shot Centenary, 17-11, and took eight corner kicks to the Gents’ two.
“I want to thank the students at Carolina for their tremendous support,” Berson said. “The crowd for the Clemson game was unbelievable and the crowd tonight was oustanding, despite the thunderstorms and bad weather.”
“We’ll learn a lot form this game.” Berson said. “We’ll take it and get ready to move on for Friday.”
The Gamecocks have won three straight matches heading into this weekend’s adidas/Gamecock Classic. Winthrop and Alabama A&M will open play at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, with Carolina and Temple following at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles will face Temple on Sunday, Sept. 10, at Noon and the Gamecocks will battle Alabama A&M at 2:30 p.m.