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Aug. 31, 2007

Final Stats

CLEMSON, S.C. – The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team (1-0) upset the 12th-ranked Clemson Tigers (0-1) on Friday night, 1-0, in the season opener for both schools in front of a crowd of 6,300 at Riggs Field in Clemson. USC freshman Blake Brettschneider scored the winning goal in his collegiate debut on an assist from junior midfielder David Smith, his first of the season.

“I’m really proud of our team,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. “We came into an extremely difficult environment and battled through two overtime periods and came out with a win. That’s a great start for an extremely young team. We played well in stretches, but we battled well for the entire game. Sometimes, especially in this game particularly, it boils down to who fights the hardest, the longest, and who makes their own break, and tonight our guys came out on top. Our coaches – Bert Molinary and Mike Babst – have done a great job during the preseason, and it’s great to get this win under our belt.”

This win doesn’t change our perspective or our focus. Our goal is to improve each week and to learn from this experience. We will come out of this game with a lot of lessons learned and with the clear knowledge that we can go into any environment in the country and come out with a win.”

Brettschneider led the offensive attack with four shots on goal, while senior midfielder J.D. Moon and sophomore forward Bryan Lowder each contributed two shots on the net. Freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer collected seven saves in his first collegiate start.

USC tallied 13 fouls, drawing five yellow cards, compared to 17 fouls and four yellow cards by the Tigers. Despite the loss, Clemson out-shot USC, 24-17, and drew nine corner kicks against just seven by Carolina.

Both teams had several opportunities at the net in the first half, as the Gamecocks tallied four shots on goal, while the Tigers added three. USC’s first solid threat came at the nine-minute mark when Brettschneider sent a header just over the outstretched hands of Clemson goalkeeper Joseph Bendik and over the crossbar on a pass from sophomore Jeff Scannella.

Maurer played a strong first half in the net with three saves, including a crucial block in the 24th minute on a header by Clemson’s David Newton to hold the scoreless tie.

USC’s Sam Arthur and Mark Wiltse each tallied shots on goal late in the half and Clemson’s David Bell missed just over the crossbar with only minutes remaining, holding the scoreless tie heading into the halftime break.

The second half proved a back-and-forth battle in each team’s respective defensive third of the field. After a foul by the USC defense at the 70-minute mark, Clemson’s Mark Buchholz looked to capitalize on a free kick opportunity just outside the 18-yard box, but the shot skimmed just across the top of the crossbar to hold the tie.

Scannella and Lowder each had chances at the net in the second half for the Gamecocks and the Tigers continued to show a strong presence in the USC backfield, however, neither team capitalized on offensive opportunities, forcing the first of two possible 10-minute, sudden death overtime sessions.

Clemson dominated the first overtime session with four shots compared to none by the Gamecock offense. Maurer held a strong line in goal to force a final overtime set.

With five minutes remaining in the contest, USC’s Josh Stewart flicked a header over Bendik for what looked to be a sure Gamecock goal, but Tiger Danny Poe regrouped at the goal line, heading the ball away from the net to hold the tie.

With the clock ticking away in the final minutes after a Bryson Moore miss, USC’s David Smith made a speedy transition, racing down the right sideline with Brettschneider just steps behind. Smith chipped a ball past the Tiger defender in the path of Brettschneider who managed to pop the ball over a diving Bendik for the exciting 1-0 Gamecock victory.

South Carolina continues the non-conference portion of its schedule in its 2007 home opener on Tuesday against Presbyterian College at Stone Stadium. Game time is set for 7 p.m. in Columbia.