Nov. 1, 2006
The No. 16 South Carolina men’s soccer team (11-4-1, 4-3-1 C-USA) opens the 2006 Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 3:30 p.m. ET against the UAB Blazers in Tulsa, Okla.
The University of Tulsa is the host of this year’s Conference USA Tournament. All four first round matches are scheduled for Wednesday, semifinal action will be played on Friday, Nov. 3, and the Championship contest is slated for a 2 p.m. ET start on Sunday, Nov. 5. and will be televised live nationally by CSTV.
South Carolina is the tournament’s No. 4 seed while UAB is No. 5. Both teams tied with 13 points in the final regular season standings, but the Gamecocks held the tiebreaker by virtue of a 2-0 regular season victory.
The winner of the Conference USA Tournament will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina captured the 2005 title in Dallas, Texas.
SOUTH CAROLINA UPDATE
South Carolina owns an 11-4-1 record overall and wrapped up Conference USA play with a 4-3-1 record and tied for fourth in the league standings. After experiencing major travel difficulties on the way to Tulsa, the Gamecocks dropped a 1-0 decision to the Golden Hurricane in the regular season finale on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Senior Mike Sambursky leads South Carolina in scoring with 20 points on five goals and eight assists. Senior Ayo Akinsete is the Gamecocks second-leading scorer with 12 points on five goals and two assists.
Conference USA Freshman of the Year Jeff Scannella has reached the 10-point plateau with three goals and four assists and stands as the Gamecocks’ third-leading scorer.
The Gamecocks’ offensive attack is fairly balanced. Ten different players have scored at least one goal and seven are credited with a minimum of two. South Carolina has out-shot its opponents, 224-195. The Gamecocks have scored 27 goals and allowed 15.
Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Gustavson has an 0.97 goals-against average after playing all 1,484:02. He has made 63 saves and posted six shutouts.
No. 25 UAB comes into Wednesday’s match with a 9-6-2 record overall and having won three of its last four matches. In the final week of the regular season, the Blazers knocked off No. 1 SMU, 2-1, at home and beat Florida International, 1-0, on the road. UAB had a 4-3-1 C-USA record.
First-team all-Conference selection Jerson Monteiro is the Blazers’ leading scorer with 30 points on 12 goals and six assists. Lukasz Kwapisz stands as the team’s second-leading scorer with 14 points on seven goals. Goalkeeper Jeremy Drake has played 1155:19 and posted a 1.64 goals-against average. He has two shutouts to go with 69 saves.
>> South Carolina is the defending Conference USA Champion. The Gamecocks captured the 2005 title in Dallas, Texas, and earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
>> The Gamecocks posted a 2-1-0 record in the 2005 C-USA Championship. Carolina advanced past Kentucky in the first round on penalty kicks, defeated Memphis, 2-1, in the semifinals and shut out Tulsa, 1-0, in the title match.
>> In the all-time series, South Carolina holds a 4-1 advantage over UAB.
>> Carolina won the regular season meeting, 2-0, on Sept. 27 in Columbia. Freshman Cory Lewis scored two goals to give head coach Mark Berson his 400th career win.
>> Dating back to last season, the Gamecocks are 23-6-3 in their last 32 matches.
>> South Carolina went undefeated at home in conference play with a 4-0-0 record.
>> Wednesday’s match is the first at a neutral site this season for South Carolina.
South Carolina is No. 20 in the latest National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America Poll and tied for fourth in the NSCAA South Region Poll. The Gamecocks are No. 16 according to College Soccer News, No. 19 in the Soccer Times poll and No. 19 according to Soccer America.
GAMECOCKS EARN ALL-CONFERENCE USA HONORS
South Carolina hauled in a total of 10 separate awards as Conference USA announced its 2006 all-conference teams and award-winners. Leading the way for the Gamecock contingent were first-team all-conference honorees Mike Sambursky and Ryan Leeton and Conference USA Freshman of the Year Jeff Scannella. Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Gustavson, the 2005 C-USA Freshman of the Year, earned second-team all-Conference USA honors for the second straight season. Gustavson was joined by senior defender Makan Hislop and senior midfielder Ralph Pace on the second team. Senior forward Ayo Akinsete collected his first all-conference honor as a member of the third team. In addition to joining Akinsete on the third team, and Scannella made the league’s all-Freshman team. Defender Mark Wiltse is also a member of the all-Freshman team.
2005 CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT RECAP
The Gamecocks captured the 2005 Conference USA Tournament Championship in their first season competing in the league. Here’s a brief look at South Carolina’s road to the championship.
>> Second-seeded Carolina out-shot No. 7-seed Kentucky, 15-11, in its opening match, but at the end of two overtime periods, the score remained 0-0. In the penalty kick phase, the Gamecocks moved past the Wildcats, 3-0. South Carolina converted its first three PK attempts while the Wildcats missed their first attempt and Gamecock goalkeeper Mike Gutsavson saved the next two.
>> In the semifinals, No. 6-seed Memphis scored just 5:54 into the match, but South Carolina responded almost instantly, tyint he match 11 seconds later as Ayo Akinsete found the back of the net. The Gamecocks took the lead for good in the 61st minute on a goal by Ryan Deter.
>> Mike Sambursky’s strike in the 41st minute proved to be the difference as South Carolina defeated No. 8 seed Tulsa, 1-0. The Gamecocks captured the league title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
INTO THE RECORD BOOKS
Senior Mike Sambursky and freshman Jeff Scannella have worked their way into the South Carolina record books this season. Sambursky racked up 22 career assists, which puts him tied for eighth in Gamecock history. With his next assists, Sambursky will moved into a tie for seventh with Greenville Pope (1985-88). Scannella has four assists in his first season at Carolina, tying him for eighth on the Gamecock freshman list. Scannella needs one assist to move into a tie for fifth.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
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. The group has combined to make 301 starts and play in 333 matches for the Garnet and Black. They have also scored 148 points on 57 goals and 40 assists.