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Sept. 20, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team (3-3-1) travels to face Tulsa on Friday and SMU next Monday, beginning Conference USA play for the 2012 campaign. Below are details for both matches, as well as South Carolina game notes.

at Tulsa
Date: Friday, Sept. 21, 2012
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Tulsa, Okla.
Stadium: Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium
Series: South Carolina leads, 5-4-2
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at SMU
Date: Monday, Sept. 24, 2012
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Dallas, Texas
Stadium: Westcott Field
Series: SMU leads, 8-6-2
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Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

Carolina Quick Hits
– South Carolina is in its 35th season of varsity soccer in 2012.
– South Carolina head coach Mark Berson is in his 36th season overall and his 35th season as head coach of the Gamecocks. He is assisted by former players Spencer Lewis and Joey Worthen, both in their first season. Another former player for the Gamecocks, Clark Brisson, is the volunteer assistant coach.
– South Carolina begins Conference USA play when it travels to Tulsa on Friday and SMU next Monday. The 2012 campaign marks Carolina’s eighth competing as an affiliate member of the league.
– The Gamecocks hold a 5-4-2 upperhand in the all-time series with Tulsa, including a 2-1 victory last season.
– SMU holds an 8-6-2 upperhand in the all-time series with Carolina. The Mustangs won the 2011 regular-season meeting between the two schools, 3-2 in double-overtime, and also defeated the Gamecocks in the C-USA Tournament, 1-0.
– Junior defender Eric Martinez was the hero in Carolina’s 1-0 victory vs. intrastate rival Clemson on Sept. 18. Martinez scored in the 65th minute on a header to secure the Gamecock victory.
– Freshman midfielder Ryan Arambula collected the first assist of his career on Martinez’s game winner vs. Clemson on a corner kick opportunity. Arambula has seen action in five contests this season.
– Junior goalkeeper Alex Long collected his fourth shutout of the season vs. Clemson on Sept. 18. He collected three saves in the victory.
– South Carolina ranks 23rd in the nation in shutout percentage (0.5) (Sept. 17 NCAA Statistics).
– Junior striker Bradlee Baladez scored both Carolina goals vs. Charlotte On Sept. 12, marking the first two goals of the season for the Dallas, Texas, native. Baladez was a Preseason All-Conference USA selection earlier this fall. He leads the Gamecocks with 14 shots on the year.
– Junior goalkeeper Alex Long collected a career high seven saves vs. Charlotte.
– Sophomore midfielder Niklas Kivinen scored the first goal of his career in the impressive 1-0 victory at No. 2 USF on Sept. 6. The Mikkeli, Finland, native posted the score on a free kick opportunity in the first half.
– Former South Carolina goalkeeper Warren Lipka was honored with selection to the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame for the 2012 class. Lipka was inducted on Thursday, Sept. 13, in a ceremony at Williams-Brice Stadium.
– South Carolina is the reigning Conference USA Co-Regular Season champions, as both the Gamecocks and UAB finished the 2011 league campaign with a 6-1-1 record.

Scouting Tulsa
Tulsa enters weekend action with a 4-3-0 overall record after the Golden Hurricane fell to UC Davis, 2-1, and notched a 7-5 decision over Oakland in the SMU Classic in Dallas, Texas last weekend. Cristian Mata tallied the lone goal against the Aggies, while Akeil Barrett registered his first career hat trick, and four other players posted goals against the Grizzlies. Stephen Roberson also earned four assists against OU. TU ranks eighth in total goals (18), 13th in scoring offense (2.57 gpg), 13th in total points (48) and 26th in total assists (26), according to the latest NCAA Statistics. The Golden Hurricane leads Conference USA in points, goals and goals per game.

Scouting SMU
SMU will host CSU-Bakersfield on Thursday evening before Monday’s league opener vs. South Carolina. Jaime Ibarra, Damian Rosales and Aaron Simmons earned weekly honors after helping the Mustangs post a 2-0 record in back-to-back shutouts to win the SMU Classic over the weekend. Ibarra, a junior goalkeeper, was tabbed the Conference USA Co-Defensive Player of the Week and MVP of the SMU Classic. Rosales, a sophomore defender, was named to the TopDrawerSoccer National Team of the Week while Simmons, a sophomore defender, was selected to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week. Rosales and Simmons were also selected to the SMU Classic All-Tournament team. SMU has won four-straight contests entering Thursday’s match with CSU-Bakersfield.