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Sept. 4, 2008

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Gamecock men’s soccer team travels to the Wake Forest Deacon Fall Classic this weekend, joining one of the strongest regular-season tournament fields across the country this fall. Host and top-ranked Wake Forest (2-0-0), No. 15 North Carolina (2-0-0), No. 14 UCLA (1-1-0) and South Carolina (1-0-1), who is receiving votes in two top-25 polls entering the weekend, will take part in the two-day event. The Gamecocks will face North Carolina on Friday at 5 p.m., followed by a 3:30 p.m. contest against Wake Forest on Sunday.

• Carolina improved its record in season openers to 26-4-1 by defeating Clemson on Aug. 29.
• Gamecock head coach Mark Berson is in his 31st season at the helm of the Carolina program.
• South Carolina was picked to finish 3rd in the C-USA preseason coaches poll, while Jimmy Maurer and Jeff Scannella each earned all-conference preseason nods.
• Sophomore forward Sam Arthur has scored two goals in two games this season.

North Carolina hold a 15-10-1 lead in the all-time series with the Gamecocks. Friday’s meeting between the two rivals will mark the first on a neutral field in the series. North Carolina won the last meeting, a 2-0 victory in its home field during the 2005 season. South Carolina’s last win in the series was a 3-2 road win during the 1999 campaign.

Wake Forest holds a slight 12-11-1 lead in the all-time series with South Carolina. The defending national champ won the most recent meeting, a 2-0 home win during the 2005 campaign. South Carolina’s last win in the series was a 1-0 shutout at Wake Forest during the 2004 season.

Defending national champion and top-ranked Wake Forest opened its 2008 campaign with a two-game winning streak, collecting wins over VCU and Florida International. Led by senior forward Marcus Tracy, who earned co-ACC Player of the Week and Player of the Week accolades this week, Wake Forest has allowed just one goal this season.

Fifteenth-ranked North Carolina opened the 2008 campaign with victories over Florida International and VCU in their home tournament last weekend. Junior forward Eddie Ababio leads the squad with one goal and one assist on the year, while goalkeeper Jacob Wescoe has collected two shutouts early this season.

The Gamecock men’s soccer team drew a 1-1 tie against Presbyterian College in double overtime at Stone Stadium on Sept. 2. Sophomore Sam Arthur scored his second goal of the season for the Gamecocks on an assist from junior defender Mario Burstein. South Carolina out-shot the Blue Hose 20-7 in the match, but was unable to capitalize on offensive chances late in the contest.

South Carolina collected a 2-0 shutout victory over Clemson in its season opener on Aug. 29 in front of a record crowd of 6,102 at Stone Stadium. The sophomore duo of Sam Arthur and Blake Brettschneider each collected one goal and one assist in the match, while goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer tallied three saves in net to secure the shutout for Carolina. The victory marks South Carolina’s second-consecutive win over the Tigers, marking the first back-to-back Gamecock wins over Clemson since the 1994-1995 campaigns.

South Carolina has moved up to No. 28 in the Top 30 poll and is receiving votes in the NSCAA poll this week. The Gamecocks are ranked third by the NSCAA in the highly competitive South Region.

For the 27th time in his career at the helm of the Gamecock program, head coach Mark Berson will face his alma mater when South Carolina faces North Carolina on Friday evening. Berson played on the Tar Heel soccer squad for four years, one as a midfielder and the other three in goal.

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’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.

The 2008 South Carolina men’s soccer recruiting class was ranked No. 14 in the nation according to, 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.

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.

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.