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Nov. 11, 2008

Conference USA Tournament
Game Notes icon-acrosmall.gif | 07-gametracker-icon-2.gif | Tournament Central

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The fourth-seeded University of South Carolina men’s soccer team is set for its Conference USA Tournament quarterfinal match against host fifth-seeded SMU on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET at Westcott Field in Dallas. Carolina enters tournament play with a 7-5-5 overall record against the 10-5-2 mark of the Mustangs. The two teams tied earlier this season in a 1-1 double-overtime contest in Dallas. South Carolina has advanced to the C-USA Tournament each of its four years competing in the league, earning an overall record of 3-2-1, while collecting the 2005 Conference USA Tournament Title.

Conference USA announced its 2008 all-conference first, second and third teams, all-freshman team and postseason award winners for men’s soccer on Tuesday, as selected by the conference’s nine head coaches. Eight South Carolina student-athletes garnered awards, as sophomore strikers Sam Arthur and Blake Brettschneider were selected to the first team, while junior midfielder Jeff Scannella earned second-team honors alongside junior defender Tyler Ruthven and sophomore goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer. Junior defender Mark Wiltse earned third-team honors and freshman midfielders David MacVane and Stephen Morrissey were selected to the all-freshman squad.

Carolina has advanced to the C-USA Tournament each of its four years competing in the league, earning an overall record of 3-2-1. South Carolina collected the 2005 C-USA Tournament title by defeating Kentucky via PK’s in the quarterfinal round, Memphis in the semifinals and Tulsa in the championship game. South Carolina has played Tulsa twice in the C-USA Tournament, in 2005 and 2007, and could face the Golden Hurricane in the second round.

SMU holds a slight 5-3-2 advantage in the all-time series with the Gamecocks. The two teams met in the early goings of the C-USA season this year, battling through double overtime to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 8. South Carolina has never played SMU in the C-USA Tournament.

South Carolina and UCF battled to a 1-1 draw last Friday evening in the final regular-season match-up for both 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.

SMU won three of its last four conference games to clinch the No. 4 seed in the tournament. The Mustangs began the conference season 0-2-1, after losses to Tulsa and Memphis and a tie against the Gamecocks. Paulo da Silva leads the squad with 16 points, collecting seven goals and two assists during the regular season. Goalkeeper Craig Hill has played all but 10 minutes in net for the Mustangs. He owns a 0.92 goals against average heading into tournament play.

As a team, South Carolina ranks ninth in save percentage (.856) and 26th with a 0.77 goals against average in the most recent NCAA statistics (Nov. 10). Individually, Sam Arthur ranks tied for 26th with 0.65 goals per contest, while goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer continues to climb the national charts in save percentage. He ranks 16th this week with a 0.853 mark.

South Carolina looks for its eighth win of the season on Wednesday against SMU. The Gamecocks have won at least eight games in every season since being awarded varsity status in 1978. The Gamecocks have won only eight games twice (1983, 1996) and won a program-best 20 games during the 1985 campaign.

South Carolina’s five ties during the regular season mark the most by any Gamecock squad since the program’s inception in 1978. South Carolina has had four ties twice in a season, in 1988 and 1993.