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Sept. 6, 2007

Carolina’s Cumulative Statistics

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 15th-ranked Gamecock men’s soccer team travels to Storrs, Conn., this weekend to compete in the UConn adidas Classic. No. 14 Connecticut, Florida International, No. 15 South Carolina and South Florida will take part in the two-day event. Carolina opens tournament action on Friday night against UConn at 7 p.m., and will face South Florida on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Gamecocks will not play fellow Conference USA competitor FIU. Carolina, UConn and USF all bring unbeaten, 2-0 records into weekend competition, while FIU is 0-1-1 on the year.

UConn holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series with Carolina, while USC holds a slight 3-2 edge in the all-time ledger against USF.

Carolina Weekend Notables

Following a stellar start to the season, the Carolina men’s soccer team is ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation. After a season-opening upset of then-No. 12 Clemson last Friday, the Gamecocks have soared into the top 25 in three polls. Ranking the highest in the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) poll in the 15th position, the Gamecocks also rank 19th in the poll and 23rd according to College Soccer News.

The Gamecocks kicked off their 2007 season with a bang last Friday, defeating 12th-ranked Clemson, 1-0, on their home field in the 109th minute of the second sudden death overtime period. South Carolina freshman Blake Brettschneider scored the game-winning goal in his collegiate debut as the Gamecocks upset the Tigers. Brettschneider scored the lone goal on an assist from junior midfielder David Smith. 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.

Carolina most recently defeated the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College, 4-0, on Tuesday night in their home opener at Stone Stadium. Pacing the offensive attack was freshman Sam Arthur with two goals and one assist, while sophomore defender Mark Wiltse and sophomore midfielder Jeff Scannella each registered one tally. Freshman forward Blake Brettschneider also contributed two assists in the Gamecock victory. Freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer made his second collegiate start, holding PC scoreless through the first 67 minutes of the night’s action, followed by 23 minutes of shutout goalkeeping from senior Geoff del Forn.

For his top-notch play in his first collegiate start, Blake Brettschneider was honored as the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 4. Brettschneider scored the lone Gamecock goal in the 1-0 upset of then-No. 12 Clemson last Friday in his first contest at Carolina.

Carolina’s true freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer proved he deserves the starting job in his first collegiate season. Maurer tallied seven saves against Clemson last Friday in his collegiate debut, including four crucial saves in the second half of regulation. Additionally, Maurer added 67 minutes of shutout goaltending in the home opener against Presbyterian College on Tuesday.

After the first full week of regular-season play, South Carolina, Memphis and Tulsa all enter weekend competition with unbeaten, 2-0 non-conference records. Kentucky and Marshall have each turned in 1-1 performances, SMU is also unbeaten with an 0-0-1 slate, FIU is 0-1-1, UCF is 0-1 and UAB rounds out the conference standings with an 0-2 record.

The Gamecocks rank among the top three in every major statistical category among conference opponents, including first in shots per game (15.5), goals allowed (0.00) and goals against average (0.00). Individually, freshman forward Blake Brettschneider ranks tied for first in shots with an average of 4.50 per game, while he is tied for second in points (2.00). Defensively, goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer ranks atop the conference with stellar numbers from the goal line. His 0.00 goals against average and perfect save percent (1.000) place him first in both categories.

HEAD COACH Mark Berson
USC head coach Mark Berson is in his 30th season (404-153-46) as a collegiate head coach and his 29th (393-148-46) at the helm of the Gamecock program in 2007. During Berson’s tenure, USC has made two College Cup appearances, 18 NCAA tournament appearances and has won two conference championships (Conference USA, 2005; Metro Conference, 1993).

Junior forward O’Brian White scored three goals in the team’s opening weekend of play. He tallied two in the opener against Canisus and one versus Stony Brook en route to BIG EAST’s Offensive Player of the Week honors.

UConn is ranked in the Top 25 in all four major soccer polls, holding a peak position at No. 6 in the Soccer America poll. The Huskies also appear in the top 25 in the, College Soccer News and NSCAA/adidas polls at the No. 9, 12 and 15 spots, respectively. UConn head coach Ray Reid is the NCAA’s winningest active coach (.776 at the beginning of the season) after reaching the top spot three years ago.

This is the first match of the year for USF against a ranked opponent. The Bulls were 1-2-2 against ranked teams last year. Junior midfielder Kevon Neaves was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll last week following his two goal, two assists (six points) performances in the first two games of the year. Neaves and forward Jordan Seabrook are tied in the BIG EAST team lead in points scored in a game with five. Both recorded two goals and an assist in the season opener against UCF.

The Gamecocks return to Stone Stadium to host Wofford in the first of three consecutive home games on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Carolina continues its season with its annual home tournament, the adidas Gamecock Classic, Sept. 14-16. Joining the Gamecocks in Columbia will be Lipscomb, Longwood and Presbyterian College.