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Oct. 25, 2014

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Coach Berson

COLUMBIA, S.C. – On Senior Night at Stone Stadium, South Carolina (7-8, 2-4 C-USA) fought back from down 3-0 for the second time in 10 days to force overtime against No. 19/22 Kentucky (9-3-3, 4-0-2 C-USA), but the Wildcats tallied the golden goal with a minute remaining in the second overtime to claim a 4-3 win on Saturday night.

Ryan Creel hit the game-winner in the 109th minute, sending a strike from 10 yards away past the Gamecocks’ defense after Bryan Celis set him up with the cross. That concluded the Gamecocks’ attempt to match the largest comeback in school history done on Oct. 17 at Florida Atlantic.

Down 3-0 in the 59th minute while also down a man, South Carolina replaced two-thirds of the field players at once, including putting seniors Ryan Freiburger and Dan Traxler on the pitch for their only action of the night. That group, which also included juniors Wesley Eads, Devin L’Amoreaux, Joey Hutchinson and Reid Grayson, started attacking with vigor, getting a header off a corner kick in the 60th minute that bounced off the crossbar. Six minutes later, sophomore defender Ive Burnett, one of the three to stay on the pitch, dribbled to the top of the 18 and ripped the shot to the left of Kentucky’s goalkeeper to break the ice for the Gamecocks.

Redshirt freshman Mikkel Knudsen scored twice to knot the match, first in the 83rd on a blast from the top of the 18 into the left upper 90. Sophomore midfielder Koty Millard helped with the game-tying tally in the 86th, sending the cross to Knudsen inside the six, where the Dane put it in the net to tie the match at 3-3.

Kentucky held a 2-0 lead at half after a pair of goals from Napo Matsoso. The Wildcats worked the ball down with precision passing for the first goal in the 36th, as Matsoso sent it home on the back post from the six after assists from Charlie Reymann and Celis. Celis helped again on the 42nd-minute score, as Matsoso took the play back to him and scored from 20 yards away, sneaking the ball in under the crossbar.

Matsoso made it 3-0 in the 56th when he converted the cross from Gerald Laird on the near post from inside the six.

Kentucky held a man advantage for the final 64 minutes of play, after Gamecock sophomore midfielder Kurtis Turner was shown red after a tackle from behind 30 seconds before halftime.

Game Changer:
In the 59th minute, six new Gamecocks entered play and changed the energy and spirit on the field, sparking the comeback bid.

Key Stat:
Down a man for the final 64 minutes, the Gamecocks outshot Kentucky 21-12 in that span.


  • South Carolina held a 27-18 advantage in shots and a 7-5 lead in corner kicks.
  • Knudsen posted his second career two-goal game while making six shots.
  • Gamecock junior Jeffrey Torda had seven shots in the match to lead all players.
  • All 10 field starters for the Gamecocks made at least one shot in the contest.
  • Millard tallied his first assist of the year on Knudsen’s equalizer in the 86th minute.
  • Kentucky was whistled for seven offsides in the match, while South Carolina only had two called against it.
  • Matsoso posted a hat trick with the first three goals of the match.
  • Celis assisted on three of the Wildcats’ four goals.
  • Seven Gamecock seniors were honored prior to the game: Jeff Addai, Robert Beebe, Ryan Freiburger, Mo Kaba, Asa Kryst, Dan Traxler and Braeden Troyer.

South Carolina Head Coach Mark Berson

This group has shown such heart and fight consistently this year. Tonight we were three goals down and a man down and came back and tied it and had many chances to win it. I can’t express to you the disappointment I feel for our players, but I also need to say how proud I am. No coach in the country could ask more from his team than what we got from our guys tonight.

Tweet of the Match:

Up Next:
The Gamecocks close out the 2014 season on the road with two matches, first at Old Dominion on Wed., Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. EDT.