Aug. 27, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. –
The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team is set to begin its 31st season of competition on Friday when it hosts archrival Clemson at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks and Tigers will kick off at 7 p.m. The match is the season opener for both schools and will mark the 35th meeting between the two rivals, where Clemson holds a 22-12-1 all-time advantage. Gates will open at 5 p.m., and the first 250 fans in attendance will receive a FREE “Beat Clemson” T-shirt.
Fans planning to attend the South Carolina men’s soccer match against Clemson on Friday, Aug. 29, at Stone Stadium can purchase advanced tickets as part of The Gamecock Power Package via the official website of Carolina Athletics, www.GamecocksOnline.com (ticket office link). Fans will receive a ticket for the Clemson game as well as the home match against Florida International (Oct. 4) for $10. Tickets for ONLY the Clemson game can be purchased at the gate for $5 for adults and $3 for youths (age 18 and under). In addition, family packages (two adults, two youths) can be purchased for $12, while Carolina students, faculty and staff will receive free admission with their South Carolina ID card.
The South Carolina men’s soccer team begins its 31st season of competition when it hosts archrival Clemson in its home and season opener on Friday at 7 p.m.
Clemson leads the all-time series between the two intrastate rivals, 22-12-1. The Gamecocks and Tigers have met on the pitch at least one time every season since the 1978 campaign, including five times in the NCAA Tournament.
The Gamecocks played two exhibitions prior to tonight’s season opener with Clemson, defeating Winthrop 1-0 on Aug. 18, and NC State 3-0 on Aug. 23. Sophomore goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and junior Sean Nguyen combined for two shutouts, collecting six and one save, respectively.
Carolina was picked to finish third in the league by the Conference USA coaches, while sophomore goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and junior midfielder Jeff Scannella were each selected to the 11-man Preseason All-Conference Team earlier this month. Defending champion Tulsa was selected as the preseason favorite to be the Conference USA Men’s Soccer Champion in 2008. SMU was picked to finish second in the league, followed by Carolina, Kentucky fourth and Memphis fifth.
Two Gamecocks were featured on CollegeSoccerNews.com’s list of Players To Watch In 2008. Sophomore goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and junior midfielder Jeff Scannella join top players from around the country on the organization’s annual release. Scannella, a two-time All-Conference USA honoree and the 2006 C-USA Freshman of the Year, enters his third season with the Gamecocks this fall. Maurer, the reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Year, collected 11 wins during his rookie season in 2007, allowing just over one goal per game.
RECRUITING CLASS DRAWS NATIONAL NEWS
The 2008 South Carolina men’s soccer recruiting class was ranked No. 14 in the nation according to CollegeSoccerNews.com, marking the program’s third-consecutive recruiting class ranked among the nation’s top 20 by the organization. The eight-member 2008 class features two U-17 U.S. National Team Residency participants, three of the top 25 recruits in the country (Rise Magazine) for 2008, three high school All-Americans, six NSCAA adidas high school all-south region members and one state player of the year.
2008 CAPTAINS NAMED
South Carolina head men’s soccer coach Mark Berson announced captains for the 2008 season. Junior midfielder Jeff Scannella and junior defender Mark Wiltse will serve as captains for the Gamecocks this fall.
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH Mark Berson
A legend in the coaching community, South Carolina head coach Mark Berson begins his 31st season at the helm of the Gamecock program in 2008. One of 10 NCAA Division I coaches all-time to reach the 400-victory milestone, Berson is a proven winner, having reached the NCAA Tournament 18 times during his career. More than 50 of his former players have entered or been drafted into professional soccer leagues around the world.
STONE STADIUM SUCCESS
Last season the Gamecocks compiled a 6-2-0 record in the friendly confines of Stone Stadium. Over the course of the past five seasons, South Carolina owns a 31-13-1 (.700) record on its home field.
NEWCOMERS AMONG NATIONS BEST
Three of South Carolina’s freshmen for the fall of 2008 were rated by RISE Magazine among the 30 recruits in the United States. David MacVane (No. 7), Daniel Cates (No. 23) and Brandon Tarr (No. 25) were each selected to the prestigious list as they begin their careers at Carolina.
LAST TIME AGAINST ARCHRIVAL CLEMSON
South Carolina upset the 12th-ranked Clemson Tigers 1-0 in 2007 in the season opener for both schools. USC freshman Blake Brettschneider scored the winning goal in his collegiate debut on an assist from junior midfielder David Smith. USC tallied 13 fouls, drawing five yellow cards, compared to 17 fouls and four yellow cards by the Tigers. Maurer played a strong first half in the net with three saves, including a crucial block in the 24th minute on a header by Clemson’s David Newton to hold the scoreless tie. With the clock ticking away in the final minutes after a Bryson Moore miss, USC’s Smith made a speedy transition, racing down the right sideline with Brettschneider just steps behind. Smith chipped a ball past the Tiger defender in the path of Brettschneider, who managed to pop the ball over a diving Joseph Bendik for the exciting 1-0 Gamecock victory.
PLAYERS TO WATCH IN 2008
South Carolina returns all 11 of its starters from a year ago, including sophomore standouts Jimmy Maurer and Sam Arthur. Maurer, the reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Year, collected 11 wins during his rookie season in 2007, allowing just over one goal per game. He also recorded five shutouts and allowed just 21 goals in net for the Gamecocks. Arthur was the team’s second-leading scorer with five goals on the year despite a leg injury, that sidelined him for the final 10 games of the season.
POSITION BREAKDOWN: FORWARDS
The Gamecocks have a wealth of depth at the forward position. Sophomore Sam Arthur returns after missing the final 10 games of last season with a leg injury. Joining Arthur on the front line is classmate Mike Lindsay. Lindsay provided a spark off the bench for Carolina the majority of last season. He collected four goals in the final five games of the season and was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week and the C-USA All-Tournament squad. Newcomer Ryan Kropp, a transfer from USC-Upstate, will provide depth at the forward position, as well as juniors Schuyler Reardon and Bryan Lowder.
POSITION BREAKDOWN: MIDFIELDERS
The 2008 Carolina midfield will be a strong mix of talent from both newcomers and veterans. Left midfielder Jeff Scannella, an all-conference first-team performer in 2007, will provide leadership and talent on the field. Scannella led the Gamecocks with seven goals last season while adding three assists. Sophomore Blake Brettschneider, who spent the majority of the ’07 season on the front line, will move to the right midfield position this fall. Brettschneider tallied four goals and led the team with four assists last season, earning C-USA All-Freshman team honors for his efforts. Sophomore Josh Stewart will join forces with freshman David MacVane to run the center of the field for the Gamecocks in 2008. MacVane, the highly-touted recruit from upstate New York, possesses great passing ability and knowledge of the game, which will provide help on both the offensive and defensive ends of the pitch for Carolina.
POSITION BREAKDOWN: DEFENDERS
Junior Mark Wiltse will look to lead a strong defensive line in 2008. Wiltse was a key member of the defensive unit that allowed just 21 goals last season, including a league-low seven goals during Conference USA play. Sophomore Will Traynor and junior Tyler Ruthven will run the center of the back line for USC, while junior Mario Burstein will provide veteran leadership at the left back position.
POSITION BREAKDOWN: GOALKEEPERS
Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer is back in net for his sophomore season with the Gamecocks. Maurer collected 11 wins and five shutouts during his rookie season. During the regular season, Maurer garnered adidas Gamecock Classic Defensive MVP and Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week honors. He also garnered All-Conference USA Second-Team honors, as well as being named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team. On the national stage, Maurer was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com All-Freshman Team and the CollegeSoccerNews.com All-Freshman Third Team. Redshirt junior Sean Nguyen and freshman Ross Power will also provide depth at this position in 2008.