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Oct. 23, 2007

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South Carolina Media Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team entertains No. 2 SMU in a crucial Conference USA match on Wednesday at Stone Stadium. The contest will begin at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally by Fox Soccer Channel. South Carolina head coach Mark Berson aims for his 400th win at the helm of the Gamecock program against the Mustangs. Entry for all fans will be $1, while the first 500 fans in attendance will receive Fox Soccer Channel bag tags, the first 150 fans will receive a Carolina soccer T-shirt and 100 adidas Carolina Soccer Hats will be distributed to fans as they exit. Autograph cards and posters will also be available. SMU holds a slight 4-3-1 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools.

In the most recent national polls (Oct. 22-23), the Gamecocks are not ranked, but received votes in the and polls.

Carolina enters Wednesday’s match with the Mustangs with an 8-4-1 overall record, including a 2-1-1 mark in league action. USC most recently lost to No. 10 Tulsa (Oct.13) 1-0, and tied No. 25 Memphis (Oct. 20), 1-1. Freshman forward Blake Brettschneider and sophomore midfielder Jeff Scannella have paced the Gamecock offense in recent weeks. Scannella scored in three consecutive contests, beginning with a game-winning tally at UAB (Sept. 29), followed by another game winner at Davidson (Oct. 3) and an insurance goal at FIU (Oct. 7). Brettschneider has four goals and three assists for the year, most recently providing the lone goal in USC’s 1-1 tie against Memphis. In the net, freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer owns a 0.92 goals against average – tops in C-USA – while his four shutouts and 53 saves rank first and second, respectively. Additionally, Carolina head coach Mark Berson looks for his 400th win at the helm of the Gamecock program on Wednesday. He earned his 400th overall career win last season, but looks to make another stamp in his Carolina career record book on Wednesday.

The SMU Mustangs enter Wednesday’s game riding a five-game winning streak and undefeated in their last eight outings. The Mustangs climbed to No. 2 in this week’s Soccer America magazine poll. SMU blanked FIU, 2-0, Sunday afternoon on goals by Bruno Guarda — a preseason Hermann Trophy candidate — and Scott Geppert, this week’s Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week. Geppert also scored in SMU’s win over UAB Wednesday night, as did junior forward Richard Oliva, the team’s leading goal-scorer with six tallies this season. For his efforts over the last two games, senior goalkeeper Steve Sandbo was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week.

400 Wins, Take TWO
South Carolina head coach Mark Berson is one of the longest tenured men’s collegiate head coaches in the nation. He is one of just five active, and 11 Division I coaches all-time to reach the 400 victory milestone for his career. Berson stands on the edge of another career milestone with 399 career wins at the helm of the Gamecock men’s soccer program.

The second-ranked SMU Mustangs lead this week’s Conference USA Standings with a 4-0-1 league mark. No. 7 Tulsa (3-0-2) and No. 25 Memphis (2-0-3) follow, while the Gamecocks hold sole possessions of fourth with a 2-1-1 conference record. Marshall and Kentucky each own 2-2-0 marks, followed by FIU (2-3-0), UCF (0-4-1) and UAB (0-5-0).

The Gamecocks rank among the top five in numerous team statistical categories, including points (5th, 55), goals per game (5th, 1.46), goals allowed (1st, 0.92) and goals against average (1st, 0.89). Individually, freshman forward Blake Brettschneider is among conference leaders with 3.00 shots per game (3rd). Despite not having played in the last four games due to a shin injury, freshman forward Sam Arthur ranks tied for fourth with five goals, while he ranks third with 0.56 goals per game. Defensively, rookie netminder Jimmy Maurer paces the conference with four shutouts, while his 53 saves, 0.92 goals against average and .815 save percentage all rank second.

Since joining the league prior to the 2005 campaign, the Gamecocks hold a 2-1 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. The Gamecocks suffered a 1-0 setback to Tulsa in a tape-delayed contest on CSTV on Oct. 13, but USC looks to rebound against SMU on Oct. 24 in a live broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel.

The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team battled through 110 minutes of highly competitive Conference USA action on Saturday, drawing a 1-1 tie against No. 25 Memphis in a double overtime match at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Freshman forward Blake Brettschneider tallied the lone Gamecock goal in the 58th minute on an assist from sophomore Schuyler Reardon, and freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer contributed a strong performance in net, collecting two saves in the complete game effort. Following the tie, Carolina’s record stands at 8-4-1, including a 2-1-1 mark in C-USA play, while Memphis owns a 7-2-4 overall mark, with a 2-0-3 league record.

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 4-1-0 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 lone loss came against Tulsa on Oct. 13.