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Nov. 12, 2013

Fourth-seeded South Carolina (7-6-5, 4-2-3 C-USA) faces the fifth-seeded Tulsa (9-5-2, 4-3-2 C-USA) in the opening contest of the 2013 Conference USA Tournament at Transamerica Field in Charlotte, N.C. The match is slated to begin at 3 p.m.

If the Gamecocks get past the Golden Hurricane, regular season champion New Mexico awaits in Friday’s semifinal matchup at 5 p.m.

Date/Opponent: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 vs. Tulsa
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Series: Tulsa leads 6-5-2
Location: Charlotte, N.C.
Stadium: Transamerica Field
Tickets: $20 All-Session, $10 Single Session Adult, $5 Single Session Youth
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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 Tulsa
Tulsa is riding a two-game winning streak and has lost just two of its last seven matches. The team finished C-USA play in fifth place with a record of 4-3-2 and posted a 9-5-3 overall mark. The three league losses were to the top three teams in the conference and all came at home (Old Dominion: 1-2, then-No. 20 New Mexico: 0-1 and then-No. 5 UAB: 1-2)

Sophomore forward Cristian Mata paces the team offensively with 26 points on 10 goals and six assists. His 26 points are tied for the top spot in C-USA. Junior forward Akeil Barrett has recorded six goals to go with a league-leading seven assists for 19 points. Cristian is joined by his brother senior midfielder Omar Mata on the team and the siblings were named to the Hermann Trophy watch list in the preseason. The brothers were just named to the C-USA First Team. Barret was recognized on the second team while sophomore defender Bradley Bourgeois and junior defender Tony Rocha were named to the third team.

Cody Mumma and Jake McGuire have split time in goal, playing eight and 10 games, respectively. Mumma has four clean sheets and has allowed just four goals. McGuire has two shutouts and has posted a 1.31 goals against average.

Series History vs. Tulsa
Earlier this season, the Gamecocks fell to Tulsa for one of their two conference losses. After taking a 1-0 lead on an Arambula-to-Kaba corner kick tally in the 55th minute, South Carolina surrendered two unanswered goals for the 1-2 loss. Cristian Mata leveled the match less than five minutes after Kaba’s score and the teams ended regulation tied 1-1. With just three seconds remaining in the first overtime period, Akeil Barrett gave the Golden Hurricane the 2-1 victory.

Tulsa is the reigning C-USA tournament champion and also won consecutive titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009. South Carolina also has a pair of tournament titles under its belt, winning 2005 and 2010. The Gamecocks were the team that halted the Tulsa four-peat in 2010 by defeating the Golden Hurricane, 1-0, in double overtime. Overall, Tulsa leads the series 6-5-2.

Last Week’s Action
In the final match of the regular season, South Carolina fell to Old Dominion 1-2. The Monarchs raced out to a 2-0 lead on set piece goals from Tim Hopkinson and Cole Stringer in the first half. The Gamecocks tried to get back into the match in the second half and finally found the back of the net in the 81st minute on a Jeffrey Torda goal. South Carolina could not find the equalizer and fell for just the second time in the last 12 matches.

All-Conference Honors
Four Gamecocks earned spots on All-Conference USA teams, the league office announced on Tuesday. Junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba earned a Conference USA First Team nod for his play this season. His fellow center back Braeden Troyer earned a second-team spot. The junior defender has been recognized by the league each year of his career. A pair of Gamecocks also made the all-freshman team in midfielder Kurtis Turner and goalkeeper Marco Velez.

Conference USA Tournament Field
This year’s championship field features seven of the league’s 10 teams. The Gamecocks earned the No. 4 seed in the tournament after posting a 4-3-2 mark in conference play. South Carolina boasts a 3-2-1 mark against the field, earning wins over the regular season champion New Mexico, UAB and Charlotte. The lone losses were to Old Dominion in the regular season finale and to the Gamecocks’ quarterfinal opponent Tulsa.

Charlotte is this year’s host. South Carolina played at Transamerica Field on September 27, and came away with a 2-1 victory over the 49ers.

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.

Scoring on Set Pieces
Of the Gamecocks’ 24 goals this season, 11 of the tallies have come directly (9) 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 18 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 nine conference games this season have gone to extra time.

Up Next for the Gamecocks
The winner of the match between No. 4 South Carolina and No. 5 Tulsa advances to face No. 1 New Mexico (11-4-2, 7-1-1 C-USA) in the semifinals on Friday, November 15, at 5 p.m. New Mexico won the C-USA regular-season title in its first season as an affiliate member. The conference-best 22 points granted the Lobos the only first-round bye of the tournament.