Sept. 12, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. –
The South Carolina men’s soccer team plays their first games outside of the state of South Carolina this weekend, traveling to No. 12 St. John’s on Friday and Rutgers on Sunday. The Gamecocks face the Red Storm at 8 p.m. on Friday and the Scarlet Knights at noon on Sunday. Friday’s contest is set for an ESPN3 broadcast
Date/Opponent: Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 vs. No. 12 St. John’s
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Queens, N.Y.
Stadium: Belson Stadium
Date/Opponent: Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013 vs. Rutgers
Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Piscataway, N.J.
Stadium: Yurcak Field
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Carolina Quick Hits
South Carolina is in its 36th season of varsity soccer in 2013.
South Carolina head coach Mark Berson is in his 37th season overall and his 36th season as head coach of the Gamecocks. He is assisted by former players Spencer Lewis and Joey Worthen, both in their second season. Tim O’Toole is the volunteer assistant coach.
The Gamecocks will play 11 regular-season contests at Stone Stadium this season, including the annual Gamecock Classic and four Conference USA matches.
South Carolina will face St. John’s without Conference-USA preseason honoree Braeden Troyer. The junior defender was shown a red card in the 12th minute against Coastal Carolina on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The Gamecocks will also be without starting goalkeeper Robert Beebe, who is not making the trip due to injury. Freshman keeper Marco Velez is expected to get the starting nod. Velez has played 31 minutes this season, recording two saves and allowing two goals.
St. John’s head coach Dr. Dave Masur played for South Carolina head coach Mark Berson in 1980.
Freshman Ive Burnett scored his first career goal for the Garnet and Black in the fourth minute against Coastal Carolina on Tues., Sept 10. The Gamecocks couldn’t hold on to the early 1-0 lead and dropped the road match 1-3.
Senior J.P. Rafferty recorded the first multi-goal game of his career on Friday, Sept. 6, in a 5-2 win over High Point. Rafferty’s two second-half goals came within 15 minutes of each other.
Freshman Kurtis Turner scored the first points of his Gamecock career against High Point, assisting on three goals in the non-conference win.
The five South Carolina goals against High Point are the most scored by the Gamecocks since a 5-2 road win at East Carolina on Oct. 5, 2005.
South Carolina came from behind, but ultimately fell to Clemson 2-1 in double overtime on Sept. 2. Junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba scored the first goal of his career on a header off a Ryan Arambula corner kick to level the match in the second half. Clemson tallied the golden goal in the 102nd minute to win.
The Gamecocks improved to 30-5-1 in season openers with a 1-0 shutout victory over East Tennessee State on Aug. 30. Sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Torda netted the unassisted gamewinner in the 26th minute.
South Carolina posted two shutouts in exhibition play this season, a 1-0 win over Mercer and a 2-0 win over Elon.
Three different Gamecocks scored during preseason play, junior forward Asa Kryst, sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Torda and senior midfielder J.P. Rafferty.
The Garnet and Black posted 31 shots in the pair of matches, with a decided 23-6 advantage over Mercer. The Gamecocks preferred quality over quantity against Elon, putting seven of their eight shots on frame.
Nine newcomers (seven freshmen and two transfers) join 15 letterwinners and four starters from the 2012 squad.
Junior Braden Troyer was selected to the Preseason All-Conference USA squad in August. Last season, the Columbia, S.C., native earned second-team all-conference honors, was named to the Capital One Academic All-District 4 Team and earned a spot on the C-USA All-Academic Team.
Last season, the Gamecocks finished 5-11-2 (2-5-1 C-USA), a year removed from earning a share of the 2011 Conference USA Regular Season championship after a 6-1-1 conference campaign.
Scouting St. John’s
St. John’s has started the season 3-1-0. The first weekend of the year, the Red Storm split a pair of matches, defeating NJIT 2-1 at home before traveling to Charlottesville, Va., and dropping a match to then-No. 20 Virginia 0-2. Last weekend, the Red Storm went 2-0-0 with wins over then-No. 5 Akron 2-1 and Penn State 1-0. Four different players have netted the five Red Storm goals and nine players have at least one point. Senior netminder Rafael Diaz was named BIG EAST Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year. Diaz has played every minute in goal for his team, posting a 0.96 goals against average and collecting 14 saves. The keeper is also the reigning BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week after earning the win over Akron and getting his first shutout of the season against Penn State. Junior Casey Osborne was also recognized by the league office for his play last week, grabbing BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week after scoring his first career goal and anchoring a defensive unit that allowed just eight shots over a two-game stretch. Last season, St. John’s finished the year 10-5-4 (4-3-1 BIG EAST) and earned a bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Red Storm returns 14 letterwinners, including seven starters, and adds 12 newcomers.
Series History vs. St. John’s
The Gamecocks and Red Storm have played just three times, with St. John’s taking all three match-ups. Last season, St. John’s defeated the Gamecocks 2-1 in the first meeting between the schools since the 1999 season.
Holding a 1-2-1 record on the year, Rutgers has won eight of their last 10 games at home. Last weekend, Rutgers went 1-1-0, recording a 4-1 victory over Penn State followed by a 2-1 overtime loss to then-No. 5 Akron. Senior forward Kene Eze has recorded three goals and an assist to lead the Scarlet Knights. Sophomore Mael Corboz sits behind Eze with two goals. Between the posts, freshman keeper David Greczek holds a .769 save percentage and a 1.36 goals against average. Last season, Rutgers finished 7-7-1 (3-4-1 BIG EAST). They return eight starters and 12 letterwinners. Rutgers is playing the 2013 season as a member of the American Athletic Conference. Next year, the Scarlet Knights join the Big Ten. They are slated to host in-state rival Princeton on Friday evening before welcoming the Gamecocks on Sunday.
Series History vs. Rutgers
All-time, South Carolina and Rutgers are tied 3-3-1. In their last meeting, South Carolina defeated the Scarlet Knights 1-0 in overtime on Oct. 19, 2002.
Up Next for the Gamecocks
The Gamecocks welcome Kentucky, Dartmouth and South Florida for the annual Gamecock Classic. On Friday, Sept. 20, Kentucky and Dartmouth faceoff at 4:30 p.m. before the Gamecocks take the field at The Graveyard to play South Florida (approx. 7 p.m.). Kentucky takes on South Florida at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22, before the Gamecocks cap the weekend with a match against Dartmouth at 1:30 p.m.