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Sept. 19, 2013

South Carolina men’s soccer plays host to South Florida, Dartmouth and Conference-USA foe Kentucky this weekend for the 27th edition of the Gamecock Classic on Friday and Sunday. The tournament kicks off with a match between Dartmouth and Kentucky on Friday at 4:30 p.m., before South Carolina takes on South Florida at approximately 7 p.m. On Sunday, South Florida and Kentucky faceoff at 11 a.m., before the Gamecocks end the weekend against Dartmouth at approximately 1:30 p.m.


Tournament Central

Date/Opponent: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 vs. RV South Florida
Kickoff: approx. 7 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Series: South Carolina leads 4-3-0
Stadium: Stone Stadium
Tickets: Tickets
| Free Live Video

Date/Opponent: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 vs. Dartmouth
Kickoff: approx. 1:30 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Series: Dartmouth leads 0-1-0
Stadium: Stone Stadium
Tickets: Tickets
| Free Live Video

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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.
This season’s Gamecock Classic is the 27th edition of the tournament. The Gamecocks last claimed the title in 2008.
The combined record of the four teams South Carolina has dropped matches to (Clemson, Coastal Carolina, St. John’s, Rutgers) is 16-5-1. Of the teams’ five losses, four were to opponents who were ranked at the time of the match. The other loss was to Elon, who has since moved into the NSCAA poll at the 24th spot.
To end their three-game road stretch, the Gamecocks dropped a Sunday afternoon contest 0-3 at Rutgers on Sept. 15.
South Carolina faced No. 12 St. John’s on Friday, Sept. 13, without Conference-USA preseason honoree Braeden Troyer (suspension for red card vs. Coastal Carolina) and starting keeper Robert Beebe (injury). The teams played 60 scoreless minutes before the Red Storm recorded a tally for the 1-0 win. The Gamecocks who faced a 7-2 shot deficit at the half, ultimately outshot St. John’s 12-11. Freshman Marco Velez earned his first career start in Beebe’s place between the posts.
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 for the 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 South Florida
South Florida will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season after dropping an 0-2 decision to Wisconsin last weekend. So far this season, the Bulls have employed balanced scoring attack, with four different players tallying goals in their first four games. Between the posts, senior Brentton Muhammad has started three matches, logging 290 minutes. Muhammad has a shutout, nine saves and a 0.93 goals against average to his credit. On Friday, South Florida will try to avenge last season’s 0-1 loss to the Gamecocks at their home Corbett Stadium. After playing in the BIG EAST for eight seasons, the Bulls have moved to the American Athletic Conference. In the league’s preseason poll, South Florida was selected to finish third and senior Ben Sweat was tabbed as the league’s preseason defensive player of the year. Head coach George Kiefer is in his 12th season with the Bulls.

Scouting Dartmouth
The Big Green has yet to drop a match on the season, starting 2-0-2 in head coach Chad Riley’s first season at the helm. This weekend’s matches in Columbia mark the first of the season away from the friendly confines of Burnham Field. Junior forward Alex Adelabu and junior midfielder Robin Alnas lead the team with four and five points, respectively, each scoring two goals in their first four matches. A pair of keepers has split time for the Big Green. Freshman James Hickok has played 194 minutes, allowing two goals and collecting eight saves. The keeper is the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week after recording his first career shutout. Sophomore Stefan Cleveland has played the remaining 110 minutes between the posts, notching 13 saves and a 0.82 goals against average. The only previous meeting between Dartmouth and South Carolina is a 2-0 Big Green win at Burnharm Field in 2011.

Scouting Kentucky
With wins over Georgia State and IPFW, the Wildcats have kicked off the year with a 2-2-0 record. Allowing just three goals on the season, Kentucky has taken double the shot attempts of its opponents (61-30) and have a decided advantage in shots on goal (26-8). Sophomore forward Isak Krogstad leads the Wildcats with two goals and two assists as one of five Kentucky players with goals. Freshman forward Sam Miller has also recorded two assists this season. Sophomore keeper Callum Irving has started and gone the distance in two matches this season, both Wildcat shutout wins. A season after earning Conference USA First-Team honors, redshirt senior defender Steven Perinovic was named preseason All-Conference USA by league coaches in August, and the Wildcats were predicted to finish fifth in the league’s preseason poll. While they do not face each other this weekend, South Carolina and Kentucky will battle each other during conference play in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m.

Up Next for the Gamecocks
South Carolina opens Conference USA play on the road against Charlotte on Friday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. The 49ers are returning to C-USA after playing seven seasons in the Atlantic 10.