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Sept. 23, 2006

No. 11 South Carolina (7-1-0) vs. No 15 Memphis (7-1-0)
Sunday, Sept. 24 | 1 p.m. | Columbia, S.C. | Stone Stadium

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The South Carolina men’s soccer team (7-1-0) opens its 2006 Conference USA slate on Sunday, Sept. 24, when the No. 15 Memphis Tigers come to Columbia. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. and the first 200 fans to arrive at the match will receive a free Carolina Soccer scarf, courtesy of adidas. Fans that bring a ticket stub from Saturday’s football game with Florida Atlantic will receive $3 admission and youth wearing a team jersey will receive $1 admission. General admission tickets are $5 and youth tickets are $3. Family plan tickets, good for two adults and two children, are $12. A live audio broadcast of Sunday’s match will be available on the Gamecocks’ official athletics web site, Matt Younginer will call all the action. Fans can also follow the match live through Gametracker on the USC site.

South Carolina won its seven straight match on Wednesday, handing NC State a 3-2 loss in Cary, N.C., at SAS Soccer Complex. The Gamecocks got goals from freshman Jeff Scannella and senior Ryan Leeton and senior Makan Hislop scored the game-winner with just under five minutes to play. Senior Mike Sambursky continues to lead South Carolina in scoring. The preseason All-American has compiled 15 points on four goals and seven assists. Senior Rob Charest is Carolina’s second-leading scorer with eight points on three goals and two assists. Freshman Jeff Scannella and sophomore David Smith are tied for third with seven points on two goals and three assists. The Gamecocks have held their opponent scoreless in four of eight matches this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Gustavson has a 1.12 goals-against average to go with 23 saves. South Carolina has out-shot its opponents, 110-85, and taken 38 corner kicks while giving up 36. The Gamecocks have scored 18 goals while allowing nine.


>> South Carolina and Memphis both bring identical 7-1-0 records into Sunday’s match. The only loss for both teams came to No. 2 Clemson. Carolina fell to Clemson, 4-3, in its season opener on Aug. 25; Memphis dropped a 2-0 decision to CU on Sept. 1.

>> Dating back to last season, the Gamecocks are 19-3-2 in their last 24 matches.

>> South Carolina and Memphis will play for the third time on Sunday. The Gamecocks’ entrance into Conference USA set up the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Carolina and Memphis played to a 2-2 tie in last season’s regular season meeting on Oct. 9. In the Conference USA Tournament semifinals, South Carolina defeated Memphis, 2-1, on Nov. 11.

>> Carolina has recorded four shutouts in six matches and ranks No. 10 nationally in shutout percentage (.067). The Gamecocks have shut out four of seven opponents during their current winning streak.

>> Mike Sambursky has been involved in 11 of the Gamecocks’ 18 goals this season. He has scored four and assisted on seven others. At an average of 2.00 points per game, the co-captain is tied for 16th nationally, according to the Sept. 18 NCAA Statistics.

>> By averaging 2.14 goals-per game, the Gamecocks rank No. 27 nationally in scoring offense, according to the most recent NCAA Statistics (Sept. 18). South Carolina also ranks No. 18 in shutouts per game (0.57). The team’s .857 winning percentage is tied for 10th.

South Carolina and Memphis are both riding winning streaks. The Gamecocks have won seven straight after losing in their season opener on Aug. 25. The Tigers have won five straight, dating back to Sept. 1.

Senior Mike Sambursky is tied for fourth nationally with six assists in seven matches, an average of 0.86 per match. Sambursky has moved into South Carolina’s career top 10 this season. He has recorded 21 assists, which is eighth all-time at Carolina. In addition, the Katy, Texas, product ranks second among all Conference USA players in total assists and assists per game.

South Carolina head coach Mark Berson is closing in on career win No. 400. With seven victories this season, Berson’s career total stands at 398. The Carolina head coach entered the 2006 campaign with 391 career victories in 29 seasons as a collegiate coach, including 28 years at South Carolina. He also ranked fifth on the career wins list among active Division I coaches and 21st all-time. Entering the season his .708 winning percentage is 11th among active D-1 coaches. Berson’s record at Carolina is now 382-144-45. His career mark stands at 396-149-45, including one season at The Citadel.

In 2006, at Gamecocks scoring attack has been fairly balanced. Nine different South Carolina players have scored at least one goal this season and eight have registered at least one assist.

Top Drawer Soccer releases a weekly projection of the 48-team draw for the 2006 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament, and South Carolina is listed as the No. 9 team this week. The Gamecocks are predicted to earn an at-large bid out of Conference USA and with a top 16-seed would receive a first-round bye.

Memphis comes to South Carolina with a 7-1-0 record and riding a five-game win steak. The Tigers are ranked No. 15 in this week’s NSCAA Top 25 Poll. Junior Kevin Walsh, this week’s Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, leads Memphis in scoring, amassing 17 points on five goals and seven assists. Sophomore Tripp Harkins is second on the team with 11 points on five goals and one assist. Freshman goalkeeper Michael Goodlet has played in seven matches this season and owns a 1.23 goals-against average (GAA) and two shutouts. He has a 5-1-0 record. Junior Tyler Strom has played in four matches in goal, and has a 1.22 GAA and a 2-0-0 record. The Tigers won at Denver, 2-1, in their last match on Sept. 17. Memphis also has wins over Louisville, Belmont, Cal State Fullerton, UMKC, Central Arkansas and Air Force. Their lone loss came to Clemson, 2-0, on Sept. 1. Head coach Richie Grant is in his eighth season at Memphis.

South Carolina’s current seven-match win streak is tied for the longest active streak nationally. The Gamecocks are joined by No. 1 Clemson (7-0-0) and No. 4 Washington (7-0-0). South Carolina’s current streak is the longest since opening the 2003 season with seven consecutive victories.

South Carolina will rely on its six seniors for production and leadership this season. Ayo Akinsete, Rob Charest, Makan Hislop, Ryan Leeton, Ralph Pace and Mike Sambursky were all regulars in the starting 11 last season and three finished this season with all-conference laurels (Sambursky, Leeton and Pace). The group has combined to make 262 starts and play in 292 matches for the Garnet and Black. They have also scored 136 points on 52 goals and 32 assists.

South Carolina hosts UAB on Wednesday in a nationally-televised match at Stone Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and CSTV will be on hand to broadcast the match. The match will air on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 p.m. ET. CSTV is available on Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, Adelphia and Insight cable systems, among others, and is also available on DirecTV (channel 610) and DISH Network (Channel 152). On Time Warner cable in Columbia, CSTV is channel 150.