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Nov. 8, 2007

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team will host Kentucky in the regular-season finale for both schools on Friday night at Stone Stadium, beginning at 7 p.m. The match will also serve as Senior Night for USC’s six seniors. Carolina enters weekend action with a 9-5-2 overall record, including a 3-2-2 mark in Conference USA play. The Wildcats, fresh off an impressive upset of the top-ranked SMU Mustangs, own a 7-8-2 overall record, with a 5-2-0 conference mark. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series, 3-1-1.

The University of South Carolina will host Kentucky in its regular-season finale on Friday at 7 p.m. The match will also serve as senior day for USC’s six senior players.

South Carolina enters its regular-season finale with an overall record of 9-5-2, including a 3-2-2 mark in league play. Carolina most recently tied Central Florida (Nov. 4), 0-0, and defeated Marshall (Oct. 27), 3-1. The win over the Thundering Herd marked head coach Mark Berson’s 400th career victory at the helm of the Gamecock program. Sophomore midfielder Jeff Scannella continues to pace the offensive attack. His six goals are a team best, while he has also contributed two assists. The defensive line of sophomores Mario Burstein, Tyler Ruthven and Mark Wiltse are joined by freshman Will Traynor as the starting point for a fearless Gamecock defense. Along with the fab four, freshman netminder Jimmy Maurer owns a 0.92 goals against average and has posted five shutouts this season. An injury update on standout freshman Sam Arthur: due to the nature of his stress reaction in his shin, he will miss the remainder of the season.

Kentucky pulled off an impressive upset victory of then-No. 1 SMU on Nov. 3. Tim Crone netted the game-winning goal in the 65th minute to lead the Wildcats to a 2-1 victory over the Mustangs. For their efforts, sophomore goalkeeper Dan Williams was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week, and Crone earned National Player of the Week accolades from the NSCAA. Kentucky has won four straight entering Friday’s contest against the Gamecocks.

The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team played its final road match of the regular season last Sunday, drawing a 0-0, double-overtime tie against Conference USA opponent Central Florida. Carolina’s overall record stands at 9-5-2, 3-2-2 C-USA following the draw. The Gamecocks managed a season-high 32 shots in the match, including 10 shots on goal. Freshman forward Blake Brettschneider and sophomore midfielder Jeff Scannella each contributed five shots, while freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer collected four saves in his fifth shutout of the season for Carolina.

With 11 points in league action, South Carolina has secured a bid to its third-consecutive Conference USA Championship tournament. The Gamecocks have appeared in the postseason event each of their previous two seasons in the league, winning the event in 2005. Sixth-ranked SMU, No. 10 Tulsa, Kentucky, Memphis, Marshall and UAB have also secured spots in the tournament.

400 – 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 recently hit the 400 mark – again – collecting his 400th career win at the helm of the Gamecock soccer program in USC’s 3-1 defeat of Conference USA rival on Oct. 27.

Midfielder Jeff Scannella has continued a stellar sophomore campaign recently. The Alpharetta, Ga., native tallied his team-leading sixth goal of the season in USC’s 3-1 defeat of Conference USA foe Marshall on Oct. 27. Scannella also chipped in his second assist of the season against the Thundering Herd.

Senior defender/forward Daniel Upchurch was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District (III) Second Team again in 2007. This marks Upchurch’s second all-district academic award. He joined teammate Ryan Leeton on the team last season. Upchurch has been a key player off the bench this season, making 11 appearances, while contributing one assist.

Despite its 2-1 loss to Kentucky last week, sixth-ranked SMU continues to hold the top spot in C-USA with a 6-1-1 league mark. No. 10 Tulsa follows (5-0-2), Kentucky ranks third (5-2-0) and South Carolina is fourth (3-2-2). Memphis (2-2-3), Marshall (2-5-0), UAB (2-5-0) and FIU (2-5-0) have all secured a bid to the C-USA tournament next week, while UCF (0-5-2) will not advance to postseason play.

The Gamecocks rank among the top five in numerous team statistical categories, including goals per game (5th, 1.44), goals allowed (t-1st, 0.94) and goals against average (3rd, 0.90). Individually, freshman forward Blake Brettschneider is among conference leaders with 2.75 shots per game (5th). Defensively, rookie netminder Jimmy Maurer is tied for first in the conference with five shutouts, his .821 save percentage ranks first, while his 69 saves and 0.92 goals against average rank second. In strictly conference games, sophomore midfielder Jeff Scannella is tied for second with four goals.