Nov. 14, 2008
DALLAS, Texas – The fifth-seeded Gamecock men’s soccer team suffered a 2-0 loss against top-seeded and No. 7 Tulsa in the semifinal round of the Conference USA Tournament in Dallas at Westcott Field on Friday evening. South Carolina is 8-6-5 after the loss, while Tulsa improves to 15-3-2. Gamecock goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer collected six saves in net for Carolina.
“This was a tough loss tonight,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. “Our guys fought hard from start to finish. Credit Tulsa, they played very well and they capitalized on a key chance and that changed the game. We had a number of chances the first half, even one they cleared off the line, and we needed to put one of those away. At halftime we felt comfortable where the game was, but we knew we needed to put something away. When Tulsa got the first goal we had to chase the game. We did that pretty well and kept some pressure on them but it took a lot of energy. Late in the game we were sending players forward to force the issue and they caught us on a counter with two minutes left.
“This group has fought hard down the stretch and this is a tough way to go out. The SMU game was a very emotional and hard-fought first round win, and that certainly took a lot out of us. This group hasn’t lost a match in nearly a month and I am proud of their character. I want to thank our seniors, Brennan Williams, Spencer Lewis, David Smith and Kevan Hawkins for all that they have contributed to our team over their careers.”
Tulsa out-shot Carolina 18-8 in the match. Several Gamecocks contributed one shot in the match, while midfielder Vance Benson posted a team-best two shots. Jeovahnni Sandez led the Golden Hurricane with four shots in the match, while goalkeepers Tyrel Lacey and Andy Aguilar each played 45 minutes in net to combine for the shutout victory.
After battling through 45 minutes of scoreless soccer, Tulsa broke the tie in the 54th minute on a strike by Austin Neil. Neil finished a long cross in front of the net on a double-assist by Justin Chavez and Ashley McInnes. Sandez capped the 2-0 victory with Tulsa’s final score in the 89th minute, finishing a ball from the top of the Gamecock 18-yard box.