Oct. 1, 2006
LEXINGTON, Ky. —The sixth-ranked University of South Carolina men’s soccer team saw its nine-match win streak come to an end with a 1-0 double overtime loss at Kentucky Sunday afternoon at the UK Soccer Complex in Lexington. Wildcat senior Riley O’Neill found the back of the net in the 105th minute to give Kentucky the victory. The Wildcats improved to 8-2-1 overall and won their C-USA opener. South Carolina slipped to 9-2-0 overall and 2-1-0 in Conference USA play.
“Certainly, this was a very hard fought game,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. “Kentucky is a very physical team that presented a number of problems for us. Our guys adjusted well and fought very hard for the entire match. We had a number of opportunities to score, including a missed PK (penalty kick), and weren’t able to capitalize. When you miss chances like that, it can come back to haunt you.”
After 104 minutes of scoreless soccer, Kentucky broke through for the game-winner. Nathan Li and Masumi Turnbull assisted on the goal, which saw O’Neill score from the right endline to the near post.
In the fifth minute of the match, the Gamecocks were awarded a penalty kick after Li was whistled for a takedown in the box. Senior Mike Sambursky stepped up to take the PK, but Kentucky goalkeeper Dan Williams was able to punch it out.
The Gamecocks nearly ended the game with two minutes left to play in regulation. Freshman Mark Wiltse’s initial shot was blocked by Li, but he took one touch on the deflected ball and his second offering bounced off the cross bar.
Kentucky, which has spent time in the national polls this season, held a 17-8 shots advantage but the Gamecocks took seven corner kicks while giving up just three. Today’s contest marked the first time this season that South Carolina was held without a goal.
Carolina goalkeeper Mike Gustavson finished with three saves and Williams also had three for the Wildcats.
“We are coming off a tough stretch of games the last two weeks,” Berson said. “It will be good to have a week to regroup. We have to get ready for another tough conference game against FIU this weekend.”
The Gamecocks are idle until Saturday, Oct. 7, after playing five games in the last 12 days. South Carolina will host Florida International in a Conference USA match Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium.