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Sept. 28, 2007

South Carolina Media Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. – After playing a challenging non-conference schedule this season, the South Carolina men’s soccer team kicks off its Conference USA season on the road this weekend, traveling to Birmingham, Ala., to face the Blazers of UAB. The teams bring identical 5-3-0 (0-0-0 C-USA) records into Saturday’s match. In its third season in C-USA, South Carolina looks for its second conference championship, having won the league tournament title in 2005. Head coach Mark Berson and the Gamecocks hold a 4-2 record in the all-time series with the Blazers.

“This is our opening game in the conference and it’s a big challenge for our team opening on the road,” Berson said. “We have faced some tough games already on the road in this season – at Clemson, UConn, and Duke – so we should be ready. We split with UAB last year, winning at home and losing in the Conference USA Tournament. They are an NCAA tournament team from last year and a veteran team, so we will need to play well.”

UAB returns six starters and 13 letterwinners from its 2006 squad, including Hermann Trophy Candidate Dejan Jakovic. The Blazers bring a 5-3-0 record into Saturday’s contest, most recently suffering a 1-0 setback to Jacksonville on Sept. 23. The Blazers have posted solid wins this season over Lipscomb and then-No. 10 Indiana on Sept. 21. Jakovic, who scored two goals in the upset of Indiana, leads the Blazer offense with five goals and one assist, while defensively, keeper Wes Johnson ranks second among C-USA teams with a 0.79 goals against average.

The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team earned its fifth victory of the season on Sunday, defeating a talented Alabama A&M team, 2-0, at Stone Stadium. The win marked Carolina’s fourth shutout of the season, improving the Gamecocks’ overall record to 5-3-0 for the year, including a 4-0-0 home record. The Bulldogs fell to 2-5-0 with the loss. Junior midfielder Spencer Lewis scored the game winner for the Gamecocks, while freshman forward Sam Arthur contributed Carolina’s second goal of the match. Lewis’ goal marked his first of the season, while Arthur improved his team-leading total to five for the year.

For his solid play against No. 9 Duke and Alabama A&M last week, Sam Arthur was named the AgSouth Athlete of the Week. Arthur tallied two goals in two games, pushing his team-leading total to five for the year. The Roswell, Ga., native contributed Carolina’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss at Duke on Wednesday. Arthur finished the week with a goal on Sunday against Alabama A&M to push the USC lead to 2-0 and help the Gamecocks’ record improve to 5-3-0, including a 4-0-0 slate at home. Arthur leads the team with five goals on the year, including two game winners.

The Gamecocks are ranked fourth in the South Region this week (Sept. 25), according to the NSCAA. Carolina trails top-ranked Wake Forest, Duke (2) and Furman (3) in the South Region rankings.


J.D. Moon



Carolina freshman forwards Sam Arthur and Blake Brettschneider have certainly lived up to preseason expectations. The duo has combined for seven of Carolina’s 12 goals on the year and 44 shots this season. Through eight games, one half of the duo has registered at least one goal in all five of Carolina’s victories, while they have both contributed points in two contests. Arthur leads the Gamecocks with five goals, while Brettshneider has two for the year.

Freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer is enjoying a solid start to his collegiate career for the Gamecocks. His 1.00 goals against average ranks fourth among Conference USA competitors, while his .822 save percentage ranks second. Maurer recently earned adidas Gamecock Classic Defensive MVP honors for recording his second shutout victory of the season in a 2-0 win over Lipscomb (Sept. 16). He followed with a season-best 10 saves against Duke (Sept. 19) and four saves against an offensive minded Alabama A&M (Sept. 23) team.

Entering weekend action, only Memphis and UCF have played a league contest, finishing the match in a 1-1 tie. Marshall, FIU, SMU and Tulsa all begin their conference campaigns on Friday, while the Gamecocks and UAB kickoff their league seasons on Saturday. Overall, Tulsa leads the winning percentage column (5-2-0, .714), while USC (5-3-0) and UAB (5-3-0) have also posted five wins this season.

As a team, the Gamecocks rank fifth in the league with 100 shots taken, while Carolina’s four shutouts on the year are tied for first among league competitors. Freshman Blake Brettschneider is second in C-USA in shots (26) and third in shots per game (3.425), while classmate Sam Arthur is tied for second in the league with 12 points (5G-2A) and is tied for second with five goals this season. In the net, rookie goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer ranks second in save percentage (.822), second in saves (37) and tied for first with three shutouts for the year.

South Carolina freshman midfielder Josh Stewart will look across the field on Saturday and see a familiar face – his older brother Jonah. Jonah Stewart is a redshirt-sophomore for the Blazers. Comparing the two this season, Josh has started all eight of Carolina’s games, while Jonah has started four. The elder of the two does hold the upperhand in points with one assist.

Carolina has played two games that have gone into overtime this season, going 2-0-0 in those contests. The Gamecocks defeated then-No. 12 Clemson in the final minute of double overtime in the season opener on Aug. 31. The Gamecocks overcame a one-goal deficit late in the second half against Wofford on Sept. 11 to force overtime, eventually defeating the Terriers 2-1 in just the second minute of the first overtime session. Last season, the Gamecocks compiled a 1-1-1 record in overtime games.

Carolina fields an extremely young, but talented, group of starters this season. Five true freshmen have earned a starting position for head coach Mark Berson (Arthur, Brettschneider, Maurer, O’Dell, Stewart), while four sophomores (Burstein, Ruthven, Scannella, Wiltse), one junior (Smith) and one senior (Moon) have also garnered starting spots.

Junior midfielder Kevan Hawkins had a career day in the overtime victory against Wofford. He tallied three shots on goal, including the game winner in the 92nd minute. The goal marked the first of his career as a Gamecock.

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 on Aug. 31 in his first contest at Carolina.

HEAD COACH Mark Berson
South Carolina head coach Mark Berson is in his 31st season (407-156-46) as a collegiate head coach and his 30th (396-151-46) at the helm of the Gamecock program. 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).

The Gamecocks posted an 8-1-0 record last season at Stone Stadium, including notable wins over Davidson and Conference USA opponents Memphis and UAB. Carolina holds a 4-0-0 record at home this season, having defeated Presbyterian, 4-0, in the home opener on Sept. 4, Wofford, 2-1, in overtime on Sept. 11, Lipscomb, 2-0, on Sept. 16, and Alabama A&M, 2-0, on Sept. 23.

The University of South Carolina 2007 men’s soccer recruiting class has been ranked No. 10 by College Soccer News. The `07 class features 11 signees, including nine freshmen and two transfer student-athletes. Among the class, four players have participated in the United States Youth National team pool and seven are current or former Region team players. Also included are three high school All-Americans, two adidas Elite Soccer Program participants and one state player of the year. Two members of the `07 class were among the Top 100 Freshman To Keep An Eye On In 2007 by College Soccer News. Forward Sam Arthur and goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer were each named on the list. Additionally, Arthur was named one of the nation’s top 10 soccer recruits by RISE Magazine during the summer of 2007.