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Sept. 20, 2009

Final Stats

EVANSTON, Ill. – The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team (4-1-1) earned a 1-0 victory over Northern Illinois (2-3-1) in its final match at the Lakeside Classic, hosted by Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., on Sunday. The win ranks as South Carolina head coach Mark Berson’s 425th career victory. Junior striker Sam Arthur scored the game winner for Carolina on an assist from classmate Blake Brettschneider.

“I’m very proud of our team’s performance this weekend at the Northwestern Tournament,” Berson said. “The Northwestern game was very physically demanding going through two overtime periods on an artificial turf surface. Turning around and playing again on Sunday against a very good Northern Illinois team was a big challenge. Our team met the challenge and found a way to get the game winner in the 84th minute. I think it’s a credit to their mental and physical toughness and their resiliency as a group.”

Both team’s played very even in the statistical categories, as NIU held a slight 7-6 upperhand in shots, but the Gamecocks held a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal. Arthur and Brettschneider both tallied two shots to lead the Carolina attack, while sophomore midfielders Vance Benson and Stephen Morrissey each contributed one shot in the match. Ben Thomas led the Huskies with two shots, including one on frame.

Defensively, Northern Illinois committed 14 fouls to Carolina’s 11. South Carolina goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer secured yet another shutout in net, his fourth of the season. He collected three saves, while NIU goalkeeper Jordan Godsey tallied two saves, while allowing one goal.

NIU held the early offensive momentum in the match, as Maurer collected his lone save of the first half on a shot by Brad Horton in the fifth minute of play. South Carolina’s first threat in the half came in the 29th minute as Brettschneider hit a header just wide of frame and then seconds later the Gamecocks were called for an offsides penalty. The Huskies earned three consecutive corner kicks at the 30-minute mark and Brettschneider tallied his second shot of the half, but neither team found the back of the net, holding the game scoreless into the halftime intermission.

Thomas had two shots early in the second half, but the Huskies were unable to capitalize on opportunities in the Gamecock defensive third. Carolina found offensive momentum midway through the second half, as the Gamecocks were called for another offsides penalty in the 63rd minute and Godsey collected a Morrissey header in the 75th minute to hold the contest scoreless.

Arthur scored the deciding goal with just seven minutes remaining in the match. Brettschneider sent a pass to Arthur who beat a defender to score from just inside the Huskie six-yard box. The goal was Arthur’s third of the year, while the assist was Brettschneider’s first.

South Carolina continues non-conference action when it travels to Davidson on Friday, Sept. 25. Start time for that match is set for 7 p.m.