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Oct. 12, 2007

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South Carolina Media Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team (8-3-0, 2-0-0 C-USA), ranked No. 23 in the most recent Top 25 Coaches Poll, returns to its home field this weekend following a successful, three-game road swing. The Gamecocks host Tulsa (6-2-2, 1-0-2 C-USA) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium in a nationally-televised (tape-delayed) contest on CSTV. The game will be broadcast on Monday, October 15, at 8 p.m. The Gamecocks have won four straight entering Saturday’s match, including wins over UAB and FIU for a league-best 2-0-0 conference start.

South Carolina is ranked No. 23 in the most recent Coaches Poll, climbing two spots from its No. 25 ranking last week. USC is also receiving votes in the NSCAA and top 25 polls.

The Golden Hurricanes defeated Kentucky, 3-0, on Wednesday, entering Saturday’s match with a 6-2-2 overall record, including a 1-0-2 in C-USA action. Forward Todd Goddard is tied for first in the league with seven goals and 14 points this season. Teammate Eric Burkholder has a league-best seven assists, while goalkeeper Dominic Cervi, who has played every minute in net for the Hurricanes, has collected 43 saves en route to a 1.24 goals against average.

South Carolina enters Saturday’s contest against Tulsa having won five of its last six matches, including a current four-game winning streak. The four wins mark the longest consecutive streak for the Gamecocks since a string of nine straight during the 2006 season (Aug. 28-Sept. 27). The four wins also mark the longest current streak among league competitors.

Since joining the league prior to the 2005 campaign, the Gamecocks hold a 2-0 record in Conference USA games that have been televised. Carolina defeated UAB, 2-0, in Columbia last season, while USC’s C-USA Championship win over Tulsa (1-0) in 2005 was nationally-televised on CSTV. Saturday’s contest versus the Golden Hurricanes will be the Gamecocks’ first televised game of the season. Carolina will also host SMU, Oct. 24, in a live broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel.

South Carolina’s 2-0-0 start in Conference USA matches its best start to a conference campaign since joining the league in 2005. USC posted a 1-0-1 record in its first two games in ’05 and followed with a 2-0-0 start in ’06.

In this week’s Top Drawer Soccer Rankings (Oct. 9), South Carolina is ranked 10th in the projection rankings, having been tabbed to win the league title this season.

Sophomore midfielder Jeff Scannella scored in his third consecutive game, freshman forward Blake Brettschneider contributed his third tally of the year and junior midfielder Brennan Williams scored his first career goal, as the 25th-ranked University of South Carolina defeated Florida International, 3-1, last Sunday in Miami. The win improved Carolina’s record to 8-3-0, including a 2-0-0 mark in league play. FIU fell to 0-8-2 for the year, with an 0-2-0 record in C-USA play. The win pushed USC’s winning streak to a season-best four games.

Sophomore midfielder Jeff Scannella, the reigning 2006 Conference USA Freshman of the Year, has been on a hot streak, contributing three goals and one assist in his last three contests, all South Carolina victories. For his efforts, Scannella was honored nationally as a member of the Top Drawer Team of the Week on (Oct. 2), followed by Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week honors (Oct. 8) for his outstanding play in USC’s come-from-behind win at Davidson and league victory at FIU. Both of the awards were the first of his career. Scannella’s four goals on the year rank second on the team, while his seven shots on goal rank third.

Junior defender Brennan Williams had a career day in the 3-1, C-USA victory over Florida International on Sunday. The Columbia native attempted three shots on goal, including his first career tally in the 68th minute to help ensure USC’s eighth win of the season.

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.

South Carolina sits atop the Conference USA standings entering weekend action with a 2-0-0 league record. Five schools – Tulsa, SMU, Marshall, Kentucky and Florida International – each have one win for the year, while Memphis, UCF and UAB round out the bottom three spots in the current league standings.

Freshman forward Blake Brettschneider continues a strong rookie campaign, ranking second in the overall league standings with 34 shots. Despite having missed the last two games due to injury, freshman Sam Arthur still ranks tied for third with five goals on the year, while he ranks second with 12 points. Defensively, freshman netminder Jimmy Maurer leads C-USA with four shutouts for the year, while his 50 saves and .833 save percentage each rank second.

Carolina freshman forwards Sam Arthur and Blake Brettschneider have certainly lived up to preseason expectations. The duo has combined for eight of Carolina’s 18 goals on the year and 54 shots this season. Through 11 games, one half of the duo has registered at least one point in all eight of Carolina’s victories, while they have both contributed points in two contests. Arthur leads the Gamecocks with five goals, while Brettshneider has three goals and a team-best four assists for the year.

Freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week (Oct. 1). Maurer collected six saves and earned his fourth shutout of the season in the Gamecocks’ 1-0 victory in their 2007 league opener at UAB on Sept. 29.

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.

Two University of South Carolina soccer players have been listed as “Freshman Making An Impact” in College Soccer News’ Soccer Coast to Coast feature. Forward Sam Arthur and goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer have been selected as two of the top rookies from across the nation. Arthur has tallied a team-best five goals this season, adding two assists, while Maurer has held opponents to just 0.92 goals per game. The rookie netminder has collected 50 saves in 11 starts for the Gamecocks.

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 (410-156-46) as a collegiate head coach and his 30th (399-151-46) 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).