Nov. 12, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Will Traynor’s header goal at 49:50 propelled the fourth-seeded Gamecocks past top-seeded and No. 5-ranked SMU by a 2-1 score Friday in the semifinals of the Conference USA Men’s Soccer Tournament at Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis, Tenn.
“This was a tremendous win for our guys,” head coach Mark Berson said. “They fought, and once again, they came from behind as they’ve done all season. We came away with an excellent win over the No. 5 ranked team in the country. Also, we avenged our loss to them in the regular season and it’s a big win for us, putting us in the championship game.”
South Carolina (11-6-2) heads to the C-USA Tournament finals for the first time since 2005 and will face either second-seeded UCF or sixth-seeded Tulsa on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET in a nationally televised CBS College Sports match-up. In 2005, the Gamecocks defeated Tulsa 1-0 to win the conference title.
“The main thing is rest and recovery,” Berson said when looking ahead to Sunday. “It’s a tough assignment to have to play Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and now Sunday, but we’ll be ready and we’re excited to play in the championship game.”
The Mustangs (15-2-0) struck first in the contest with Arthur Ivo’s eighth goal of the season at 29:50 from just inside the 18 off a feed from Kekoa Osorio. Carolina responded with just two seconds remaining in the first half when C-USA Co-MVP and Co-Offensive Player of the Year Blake Brettschneider tallied his team-leading seventh goal of the year. Sam Arthur earned his second assist of the season on the score.
Traynor’s second game-winner of the season came on a corner kick from Stephen Morrissey. Morrissey lofted a perfect ball to Traynor directly in front of the goal and the senior’s header caught the right corner for his sixth goal of the year.
The Gamecocks’ offensive attack earned them a 16-9 advantage in shots, seven of which were on goal. Brettschneider led the way with five shots and four on goal. Bradley Baladez took four shots as well.
South Carolina’s win against SMU marked its second win of the season versus a top-five opponent. On Oct. 9, the Gamecocks recorded a 1-0 shutout over then-No. 5 Tulsa.