Sept. 5, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. – On a wet and rainy afternoon in Winston-Salem, N.C. due to Tropical Storm Hanna, the South Carolina men’s soccer team (1-1-1) suffered a 3-1 loss to North Carolina (3-0-0) competing in day one action at the Wake Forest Deacon Classic. The Gamecocks were unable to answer three second-half Tar Heel goals to overcome a two-goal deficit in the match. Freshman midfielder Stephen Morrissey collected his first-career goal in the contest.
“Credit North Carolina, I thought they played very well,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said following the match. “They showed a lot of composure coming back from a goal down in the second half. I thought we never established ourselves in the game as well as I would have hoped to and we never developed a good attacking rhythm. As a result, North Carolina had the better of it today. We’re going to work hard to improve and that will be our objective moving forward.”
North Carolina dominated on the offensive end of the pitch, posting 23 shots against just four from the Gamecocks. Sophomore forward Sam Arthur, junior midfielder Jeff Scannella, senior forward Kevan Hawkins and Morrissey each contributed one shot in the match.
Defensively, Gamecock goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer collected eight saves, just two shy of tying his career high. Tar Heel counterpart Jacob Wescoe tallied one save in net for North Carolina.
North Carolina held an 11-3 shot advantage in the first half, but Morrissey’s tally in the 43rd minute gave South Carolina the 1-0 upperhand heading into the halftime intermission. On a flick from Arthur, Smith settled the ball to Morrissey who turned to face Tar Heel goalkeeper Jacob Wescoe in a one-on-one situation and Morrissey placed a ball past Wescoe to the right side of the net for his first career tally.
Maurer played a strong first half in net for the Gamecocks. He faced his first test at the 19-minute mark, making a stellar save on a point-blank shot from UNC’s Brian Shriver to hold the contest scoreless. The duo met later in the half, as Shriver struck a ball on the left side to the opposite corner, but Maurer made his fifth save of the set to hold the scoreless tie.
With the lead in hand, South Carolina began the second half pressing for more. Maurer continued to impress in net, making a diving save to his right side on a well-placed shot from UNC’s Kirk Urso to hold the Gamecock lead in the 58th minute.
North Carolina gained the offensive momentum at the 61-minute mark when UNC’s Eddie Ababio connected on a pass from Sheanon Williams, sending the ball past Maurer to knot the score at 1-1. Ababio extended the Tar Heel lead to 2-1 just minutes later, heading a cross from Cameron Brown into the back of the net for the eventual game winner.
UNC’s final strike came with just under 20 minutes remaining in the match. Billy Schuler found the right side of the net from just inside the 18-yard box for the deciding 3-1 Tar Heel lead.
The Gamecocks were unable to pose an offensive threat throughout the second half, posting just one shot in the set against 12 by the Tar Heels.
South Carolina concludes action at the Wake Forest Deacon Classic on Sunday, facing top-ranked Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. ET.