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Sept. 25, 2006

Match Notes in PDF Format
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The South Carolina men’s soccer team (8-1-0, 1-0-0 C-USA) is set to take on the University of Alabama at Birmingham in a nationally-televised Conference USA contest Wedesday, Sept. 27, at Stone Stadium in Columbia. College Sports Television (CSTV) will broadcast Wednesday’s match tape-delayed. Jason Knapp will call the action and Tom Stone will provide analysis. Ken Neal is the producer. Fans that bring a ticket stub from Saturday’s football game with Florida Atlantic will receive $3 admission. The first 400 fans to arrive at Wednesday’s match will receive a free Carolina Soccer scarf, courtesy of adidas. A live audio broadcast of Wednesday’s match will be available on the Gamecocks’ official athletics web site, Kevin and Kyle Heise will call all the action. Fans can also follow the match live through Gametracker on the USC site.

South Carolina enters the week with an 8-1-0 overall record and a 1-0-0 mark in Conference USA play. The Gamecocks picked up wins at NC State (3-2) and at home against 15th-ranked Memphis (2-1 in 2 OT) last week. Senior Mike Sambursky continues to lead South Carolina in scoring. The preseason All-American has compiled 18 points on five goals and eight assists. Senior Rob Charest (3 g, 2 a) and sophomore David Smith (2 g, 4 a) both have eight points apiece. Freshman Jeff Scannella (2 g, 3 a) and senior Ayo Akinsete (3 g, 1 a), who scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Memphis on Sunday, have both tallied seven points. Sophomore Mike Gustavson has played every minute in goal this season and registered a 1.10 goals-against average. Gustavson has collected 27 saves and has four shutouts to his credit. South Carolina has out-shot its opponents, 127-98, and taken 41 corner kicks and while giving up 40. The Gamecocks have scored 20 goals and allowed 10.

UAB owns a 5-3-1 overall record and a 1-0-0 mark in Conference USA play, thanks to a 2-1 victory over Marshall at home on Saturday. The tandem of Jerson Monteiro and Lukasz Kawpisz pose the biggest scoring threat for the Blazers. Monteiro leads the team with 14 points on five goals and four assists. Kawpisz matches Monteiro’s five goals and has 10 points on the season. Goalkeeper Jeremy Drake has started eight matches and played 685:19 in goal. Drake sports a 1.58 goals-against average, 37 saves and two shutouts. Wes Johnson has played in three matches, starting once, between the pipes. He has an 0.57 GAA in 158:39 of action and one shuout to his credit. UAB comes to Columbia with a two-match win streak. The Blazers are led by head coach Mike Getman, who is in his 15th season at the school.

South Carolina’s current eight-match win streak is tied for the longest active streak of any team in the country this season. Washington is unbeaten in eight matches and owns an 8-0-0 record. The Gamecocks’ eight-match win streak stands as the longest string of victories since the 1997 season when Carolina won 10-straight contests from Oct. 18 through Nov. 23.


>> South Carolina owns a 3-1-0 advantage in the all-time series with the Blazers. The Gamecocks won the last meeting between the two teams, 2-1, in Birmingham on Oct. 9, 2005.

>> UAB won the last match played in Columbia at Stone Stadium. The Blazers edged the Gamecocks, 3-2, in overtime in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 25, 2001.

>> Head coach Mark Berson’s career win total stands at 399. With the Gamecocks’ next victory, Berson will become one of five active Division I coaches and one of 11 Division I coaches all-time to reach the milestone.

>> Dating back to last season, the Gamecocks are 20-3-2 in their last 25 matches.

>> Wednesday’s contest marks the second straight for South Carolina against a ranked opponent. South Carolina defeated No. 15 Memphis 2-1 in overtime on Sunday. The Gamecocks also fell to current No. 2 Clemson, 4-3, in their season opener on Aug. 25.

>> Mike Sambursky has been involved in 13 of the Gamecocks’ 20 goals this season. He has scored five goals and assisted on eight others. At an average of 2.00 points per game, the co-captain is tied for 13th nationally, according to the Sept. 25 NCAA Statistics.

Senior Mike Sambursky is currently the national assist leader, according to the most recent NCAA statistics report (Sept. 25). Sambursky has assisted on eight goals in nine matches this season, an average of 0.89 per match. His eight assists in 2006 match his junior season total from 2005. In addition, Sambursky’s 22 career assists rank eighth all-time at South Carolina.

South Carolina head coach Mark Berson is on the verge of securing career win No. 400. With eight victories this season, Berson’s career total stands at 399.

>> When Berson wins No. 400, he will become the fifth active Division I coach to achieve the feat, joining Michael Parker (456) of UNC Greensboro, SMU’s Schellas Hyndman (445), John Rennie of Duke (432) and Tom Martin of James Madison (406).

>> Eleven coaches in Division I men’s soccer history have won at least 400 matches; A total of 20 NCAA men’s soccer coaches (all divisions) have won 400 matches or more.

>> Mark Berson 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 388-144-45. His career mark stands at 399-149-45, including one season at The Citadel.

Senior Ayo Akinsete scored the “golden goal” in the second overtime on Sunday to send the Gamecocks to a 2-1 win over No. 15 Memphis. It marked the third time in his career that Akinsete has scored the game-winner in extra minutes. He turned the trick twice in 2005, against Loyola-Chicago (Sept. 18) and Charlotte (Sept. 24). Altogether, the London, England, native has scored nine game-winning goals during his Gamecock career, including two this season.

South Carolina’s six-man senior class has provided both 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 the season with all-conference laurels (Sambursky, Leeton and Pace). The group has combined to make 267 starts and play in 297 matches for the Garnet and Black. They have also scored 140 points on 54 goals and 37 assists.

According to the most recent NCAA Statistics Report (through matches on Sept. 24):

>> South Carolina is tied for 20th in scoring offense, averaging 2.22 goals per match.

>> The Gamecocks’ .889 winning percentage (8-1-0 record) also ranks tied for fourth nationally.

>> Mike Sambursky is the nation’s leader with an average of 0.89 assists per match.

>> Mike Sambursky also ranks tied for 13th nationally with an average of 2.00 points per match.

Wednesday’s match between South Carolina and UAB will first 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.