Nov. 10, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team (10-6-2) defeated UAB (10-7-1) by a 2-1 score in the quarterfinal round of the 2010 Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday evening from the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis. Junior midfielder Stephen Morrissey scored Carolina’s first goal on an assist from senior forward Blake Brettschneider, while Brettschneider followed with the game winner late in the contest to secure the win for South Carolina.
“It was certainly a very evenly played game, both teams had a number of quality chances and tonight we were able to capitalize,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. “It happens so many times where two teams play each other almost to a standstill and then somebody makes a play. And tonight we were able to make a couple of plays and that was the difference in the game. UAB is a fine team and we knew it was going to be a tough game. It was a tough game in the regular season. I’m very, very proud of our guys tonight. This is a big win for us.”
South Carolina held a 16-11 upperhand in shots in the contest including a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Conference USA Co-MVP Blake Brettschneider led the Gamecocks with an assist and his team-leading sixth goal of the season, which also marked his third game winner. Morrissey added his second goal of the season. He, along with Brettschneider, goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and defender Will Traynor were selected to the C-USA All-Academic Team earlier on Wednesday. Senior midfielder Mark Wiltse and freshman midfielder Chipper Root also contributed two shots in the contest.
South Carolina’s Maurer had a solid night in goal, collecting one save to earn the win. UAB counterpart Carl Woszczynski collected three saves, including two in the second half. Kofi Gyawu led the Blazers with three shots, while Gentry Smith added a shot on goal.
The Gamecocks were just shy of a season high with nine corner kicks in the match compared to four by UAB. Both teams committed 11 fouls, with the Blazers drawing one yellow card in the contest.
The teams traded shots on early offensive chances before UAB earned a 1-0 lead on an own goal by the Gamecocks. The tally came at the 16-minute mark of the match. South Carolina kept its composure throughout the remainder of the half, picking up the equalizer with 18 minutes remaining. Brettschneider battled with a UAB defender, eventually winning the loose ball. After gaining possession, Brettschneider took two steps toward goal and fired a perfect through pass, across the six-yard box to Morrissey on the far post who hit a low strike past Woszczynski to even the score at 1-1.
The tie score held through halftime and into the second half. UAB had the first chance of the set as Chris Williams sent a shot high over the crossbar in the 46th minute. South Carolina found its offensive rhythm, attempting six shots over the course of the next 18 minutes, before UAB saw a shot blocked in the 64th minute.
Carolina’s best chance of the half came with 13 minutes remaining, when Woszczynski collected a save on a shot by senior forward Sam Arthur at the 18-yard box to hold the contest scoreless. Brettschneider was able to capitalize with nine minutes remaining. After beating a UAB defender, Brettschneider sent a shot towards goal, which hit off the crossbar and bounced off of the UAB goalkeeper into the back of the net, giving South Carolina a 2-1 advantage.
UAB managed just one shot the remainder of the half as the Gamecocks closed the 2-1 win, advancing to the semifinal round with the victory.
South Carolina will face top-seeded SMU on Friday in the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament. Game time is set for 6 p.m. ET.