Nov. 7, 2008
Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (7-5-5, 2-2-4 CUSA) and UCF (6-10-1, 3-4-1 CUSA) battled to a 1-1 draw on Friday evening in the final regular season match-up for both men’s soccer squads. Bryan Lowder scored a late first half goal for the Gamecocks and goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer finished with four saves as the Gamecocks concluded the regular season with a third straight tie. Carolina will next be in competition at next week’s Conference USA tournament in Dallas, Texas.
South Carolina controlled a majority of play on the evening and finished with a 29-10 shot advantage as well as a 10-1 edge in corner kicks.
“I thought tonight our guys played great,” said South Carolina head coach Mark Berson. “I’m just very disappointed for them because this is our third straight 110 minutes that they have had to grind it out (without a win). To have 29 shots and 10 corners to one, something just has to fall for us and hopefully that will be next week. We did everything we wanted to do in the attack. I couldn’t ask any more of (our guys) tonight. I thought we really attacked well and in a variety of ways, defensively we were very sound, but (the goal by UCF) was just a tough break.”
The Gamecocks dominated play in the first half with a 16-2 edge in shots against the Golden Knights. Carolina had several chances before Lowder’s goal with Sam Arthur hitting the post in the 26th minute and a Stephen Morrissey header saved off the line by a UCF defender. South Carolina broke ahead 1-0 just before the end of the first half on the goal from Lowder. Off the assist from Mario Burstein and Schulyer Reardon, Lowder was able to control the ball, turn from just outside the “18” and fire over the head of UCF goalkeeper Sean Johnson to the corner of the goal to give the Gamecocks a one-goal edge. For Lowder, the goal was his first of the season.
UCF knotted the game at 1-1 with a goal in the early part of the second half. Off a deflection at the 52:44 mark, UCF defender Ryan Roushandel was able to gain control of the ball and launched a shot from 40 yards out that kept rising and cleared the head of Gamecock keeper Jimmy Maurer for the equalizer.
The two teams then played the rest of the way without either squad able to put a second goal into the back of the net. Lowder almost had his second goal at 86:19 only to see UCF again make a save off the line. South Carolina also had the advantage in both overtimes with a 7-3 shot edge over UCF. The top chances included a pair of headers from Lowder off a corner kick by David MacVane in the first overtime as well as a shot wide by Sam Arthur in the 109th minute of action.
“I’m very proud of our guys,” said Berson. “We just couldn’t catch a break. We had a couple of shots blocked off the line; we came at them from all directions and just a little bit unfortunate to get the second one. That’s the game and that’s how it goes some time. We still have a good part of our season left. We want to get into the conference tournament and hopefully those breaks even out.”
South Carolina has concluded its regular season and will next be in competition at next week’s Conference USA tournament in Dallas, Texas.