Oct. 12, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team suffered a 2-0 loss at Kentucky on Sunday in Conference USA action. The loss drops Carolina’s record to 6-4-2, with a 1-1-1 mark in league action, while the Wildcats improve to 6-4-2, with a 2-1 C-USA mark. The shutout against the Gamecocks marked just the second contest this season that South Carolina has not scored at least once.
“We created a number of good chances today but we were unable to capitalize,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. “The first goal was scored on an unfortunate mistake and it really changed the complexion of the game. Now we have a chance to return home and prepare for a very good Memphis team this weekend.”
South Carolina held a slight 10-9 advantage in shots and a 6-3 upperhand in corner kicks for the game. A trio of Gamecocks contributed two shots in the match, including sophomore striker Sam Arthur, sophomore forward Blake Brettschneider and sophomore defender Will Traynor. Brettschneider led the group with two shots on frame. Sophomore netminder Jimmy Maurer collected four saves in net.
Brad Walker, Tyler Burns and Sam Vernalls led the Wildcats with two shots each, while goalkeeper Dan Williams collected three saves to earn the shutout.
Both teams had their offensive chances in the opening 45 minutes of play. South Carolina tallied five shots, led by Arthur with two, including one on frame. Carolina’s first chance came in the third minute on a free kick opportunity by defender Mark Wiltse, which was cleared by UK, but South Carolina continued to press, as Hawkins nearly scored on a strike just wide on a through ball from defender Will Traynor just minutes later.
The following minutes saw the majority of play in the middle third of the field until Arthur and Brettschneider connected on a combination play in the 15th minute steps inside the Wildcat 18-yard box. Brettschneider collected a loose ball, found Arthur who returned the pass to Brettschneider for a shot just wide of frame.
Kentucky found momentum midway through the half with chances in the 23rd and 30th minutes. C.J. Tappel’s outside of the foot strike went just wide in the 23rd, while Maurer made a crucial save on a high shot from Brad Walker in the 30th minute of the set to hold the Wildcats scoreless.
Cates nearly sent Carolina into halftime with a lead, tracking a Maurer punt into the UK box with under a minute remaining, forcing Williams to leave his line for the save to preserve the 0-0 stalemate at the half.
Kentucky marked the scoreboard early in the second half, capitalizing on a failed clearance by a South Carolina defender. Tim Crone hit a one-time strike past Maurer for the 1-0 Wildcat lead in the 51st minute.
South Carolina struggled to find its offense early in the second half, but picked up momentum midway through the set. Arthur connected on a throw-in from Cates, forcing a Carolina corner in the 71st minute, but Williams punched the ball outside of the Wildcat defensive third to halt the threat.
Carolina followed with a flurry of offensive action. Traynor just missed a header over the net on a MacVane corner in the 74th minute and Cates also hit a ball high in the 78th minute.
Kentucky capped the match with its final goal in the 79th minute. Walker connected on a corner from fellow forward Chad Hagerty, heading the ball into the left corner of the net for the deciding 2-0 Wildcat lead.
South Carolina continues Conference USA play when it hosts Memphis on Friday, Oct. 17. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium in Columbia.