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Sept. 9, 2014


COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina, behind a 3-0 record, moved into two of the nation’s top-25 polls, standing 17th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire Poll (full poll here) and 20th in the Soccer America rankings (full listings here).

The Gamecocks are the only undefeated team in Conference USA, posting a pair of double-overtime wins against Belmont and then-No. 25/18 Clemson before shutting out Mercer 2-0 on Sunday night at Stone Stadium. It’s the first 3-0 start for head coach Mark Berson’s group since 2004. Sophomore goalkeeper Marco Velez earned the Disney Soccer/NSCAA NCAA Division I Men’s Player of the Week for his work against the Tigers, making six stops in the triumph.

For South Carolina, it’s the first time the team has been ranked since the last regular-season poll in 2011, a year when the Gamecocks claimed the regular-season Conference USA title. It’s the highest ranking since the 2007 team stood 15th after the first two weeks of play in the coaches’ poll.

UCLA leads the coaches’ listing, while Notre Dame tops Soccer America’s list. The Fighting Irish, who won the 2013 NCAA Tournament, dropped a 1-0 decision to fellow C-USA member Kentucky on Monday night on the Wildcats’ goal with 25 seconds remaining.

The Garnet and Black play at home again on Friday night, hosting UNC Wilmington at Stone Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. EDT, with the SEC Network + showing the match live on app.