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Nov. 8, 2013

After two matches on the road, South Carolina (7-5-5, 4-1-3 C-USA) returns home for the regular season finale against Old Dominion (9-4-1, 6-2-0 C-USA) on Saturday at 7 p.m., in Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks have just one loss in their last 11 matches and will capture the No. 2 seed in next week’s Conference USA tournament with a win. Senior night recognitions will take place just before the 7 p.m. kickoff.

Date/Opponent: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 vs. (RV) Old Dominion
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Series: ODU leads 2-1-0
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Stadium: Stone Stadium
Tickets: Tickets
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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.

Scouting Old Dominion
Old Dominion has an impressive 9-4-1 overall record and a 6-2-0 league mark this season. Last Saturday, the team had its five-game winning streak halted at the hands of No. 25 New Mexico as the Lobos took down the Monarchs 3-0.

The Monarchs have played five matches against ranked opponents this season, boasting wins over then-No. 9 Tulsa (2-1) and then-No. 10 UAB (3-2, OT). They also posted a draw against then-No. 8 Maryland (1-1, 2OT) and suffered a hearbreaking defeat to then-No. 1 Creighton (1-2, 2OT)

Senior forward Tim Hopkinson paces the Monarchs offensively with the third-most points in the league. Hopkinson has 22 points on nine goals and four assists this season and leads the conference in points per game, scoring an average of 1.57 a contest. Junior forward Ivan Militar also bolsters the ODU offense with 12 points on 4 goals and 4 assists.

Senior goalkeeper Sean Stowe has played the majority of minutes between the posts, collecting two shutouts in 13 matches. The keeper has hauled in 49 saves and owns a 1.27 goals against average.

This weekend’s meeting between the Gamecocks and Monarchs is this first in the series since November 1999. ODU defeated South Carolina 3-1 in the matchup.

Last Week’s Action
Behind a five-point match from sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Torda, the Gamecocks upset No. 10 UAB on the road 4-3. South Carolina came from behind twice in the thriller and scored a pair of goals in the 85th minute to take the victory. Torda netted two goals and an assist in the match. Freshman forward Eli Dent added his second career goal and junior forward Asa Kryst punched in the game winner at 84:57. The win propelled South Carolina past the Blazers into third place in the league. South Carolina has lost just once in its last 11 matches.

Conference USA Scenarios
While the seven-team field has been set for the C-USA Tournament, teams are still battling for seeding. Should the Gamecocks defeat Old Dominion, the two teams would be tied for second on the league table. By virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Gamecocks would be awarded the No. 2 seed in the C-USA Tournament with the Monarchs getting the third seed.

With a loss, the Gamecocks need No. 17 UAB to lose or tie at Marshall on Friday to keep the No. 3 spot. A Blazer win coupled with a South Carolina loss would drop the Gamecocks to the fourth seed.

Should the teams tie, South Carolina would stay in the No. 3 spot or drop to the No. 4 spot, depending on the result of UAB’s match on Saturday.

The event begins on Wednesday, November 13, at Transamerica Field in Charlotte, N.C. Stay tuned to for game time and other related information.

Senior Class
South Carolina will honor five seniors before the match on Saturday night – Stephen Anderson, Jason Chapman, Chris Duzan, J.P. Rafferty and Hunter Wyer. During their time in the Garnet and Black, the Gamecocks captured the 2010 C-USA Tournament championship, the 2011 C-USA regular-season championship and earned two bids to the NCAA Tournament.

Head coach Mark Berson collected his 450th victory at the University of South Carolina in an overtime victory over No. 25 New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 26. He is just the fourth Division I head coach to post 450 victories at one institution. On Nov. 1, 2011, Berson collected his 450th career win in a double overtime victory over No. 22 UCF in Orlando, Fla., becoming the eighth Division I coach all-time to reach the 450-win career milestone.

At Stone Stadium
The Gamecocks have just one of their 11 regular-season contests remaining at Stone Stadium this season. The Gamecocks completed the 2013 non-conference slate with a 3-0-2 undefeated home record. Only three other teams in C-USA did the same, Florida Atlantic (4-0-0), Tulsa (3-0-0) and Kentucky (2-0-0).

Scoring on Set Pieces
Of the Gamecocks’ 23 goals this season, 10 of the tallies have come directly (8) or indirectly (2) as a result of a set piece. Kaba and Arambula are the usual suspects, connecting four times for a score this season. Kaba’s team-leading fifth goal was on a rebound from a shot attempt created from a corner kick.

Overtime Matches
In its 17 regular-season matches, South Carolina has played eight overtime matches. Five have resulted in ties, and two of the Gamecocks’ losses have come in extra minutes. Five of seven conference games this season have gone to extra time.

Earlier Conference USA Action
The Gamecocks battled FIU to a scoreless draw on Wednesday, October 30. Freshman keeper Marco Velez collected five saves in the conference match. With the result, South Carolina picked up one point in the league race.
In the 92nd minute, freshman forward Eli Dent scored an unassisted goal to lift the Gamecocks over No. 25 New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 26. The 1-0 upset win was the first C-USA defeat for New Mexico, who is in their first year in the league. South Carolina limited the Lobos to just three shots on goal in the contest. Posting his third shutout of the season, freshman keeper Marco Velez was honored by C-USA as Defensive Player of the Week. The win was the Gamecocks’ first in overtime and the first victory over a ranked opponent this season.
Trailing 0-1 on the road at Marshall on Saturday, Oct. 19, senior midfielder J.P. Rafferty scored the equalizer in the 54th minute on a header. Ultimately, the Gamecocks and Herd tied 1-1 after 110 minutes of play. Freshman Kurtis Turner recorded his fourth assist of the season on the play, setting up Rafferty on a long cross off of a free kick. Turner broke into the Gamecock all-time top 10 for assists by a freshman. After the weekend, Rafferty and Turner are currently second and third on the team in points with seven and six, respectively.
Turner put the game-winning goal away in the 87th minute on Wednesday, Oct. 16, in a home conference match against FAU. The tally was Turner’s first career goal in the Garnet and Black. The Gamecocks also scored on a penalty kick from junior defender Braeden Troyer in the first half in the 2-1 victory.
The Gamecocks surrendered a 1-0 lead to No. 23 Tulsa on Sunday, Oct. 6. The Golden Hurricane scored the game-winner with three seconds on the clock in the first overtime period of the match. Junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba scored on a header from a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Ryan Arambula. The goal capped a three-goal week for Kaba after scoring two in the non-conference finale against Presbyterian earlier in the week.
In a road match against Kentucky on Sunday, Oct. 13, South Carolina collected one point in the C-USA race. The Gamecocks and Wildcats tied 0-0 after 110 minutes of action.
South Carolina’s first road win of the season could not have come at a better time. The Gamecocks scored two unanswered goals to defeat (RV) Charlotte 2-1 on Friday, Sept. 27. Junior defenders Mahamoudou Kaba and Braeden Troyer provided the offense. Troyer’s unassisted gamewinner came off a rebound from a corner kick in the 81st minute. Prior to the Gamecocks’ two tallies, the 49ers had allowed just four goals over the course of their first seven matches of the season. Freshman keeper Marco Velez earned his first career win in the Garnet and Black.

Up Next for the Gamecocks
The Gamecocks await their seed in the Conference-USA Tournament. The event begins on Wednesday, November 13, at Transamerica Field in Charlotte, N.C. The semifinals are slated for Friday, November 14, with the championship match scheduled for Sunday, November 17th at 1:30 p.m. Stay tuned to for official Conference USA Tournament information.