Nov. 12, 2014
South Carolina head coach Mark Berson
Q: Can you give us a recap of the game, your thoughts on how the guys played and going into Friday’s game?
A: I think it was obviously a close game. You know, again we have a penalty against us. The same thing happened up in New Mexico; seven minutes in, we had a penalty against us. So I think our guys showed a lot of resiliency and a lot of mental toughness by not letting that bother them. They just kept pushing, and we got the equalizer and fought through the game. Frankly, I thought we had to carry the game. I thought we pushed the game the entire time. Kentucky is a really good team. In the regular season at our place, we had a guy get a red card in the first half, so we played the second half a man down. We were also three goals down, came back scored three and in overtime hit the post, hit the goalkeeper and had chances to put the game away. To their credit, Kentucky found a way to win it and got the game-winner. So I think, for our guys, they really wanted this game. We have a lot of respect for Kentucky. They play the game the right way. They have quality kids and a quality coaching staff. Just like the first game, it was as close as it could be. Today we got the win, and I’m really happy for our guys.
Q: Can you talk about Koty’s kick there at the end, to get the game-winning goal with eleven seconds?
A: He took the goal really well. We had spoken at halftime about how we wanted to change things in that situation where our goalkeeper had the ball, where we wanted the ball to go, and what we wanted to try do with it. That’s never a precise science because of the distance the ball has to travel. The ball went into Mikkel (Knudsen), he found Mo (Mahamoudou Kaba), and Mo found Koty (Millard. Koty slipped through and took the goal beautifully; he really took it well. It was a great goal and a great time for our team. I was really proud of their effort, especially coming from behind in a must win situation in the conference tournament with everything on the line. I was really proud of them.
A: Well I’ll tell you what; we’ve been in 15 one-goal games this year. We’ve been in eight overtime games. We’ve been down three goals and have came back to tie and then lose to Kentucky. We’ve been down three goals and came back to win in overtime against FAU. We scored with three seconds left to beat FIU on the road after coming from behind. So for us, this is like a normal day. That’s just what we do. That’s not the way I would choose to do it, but our team is absolutely never out of the game until the final tick. When we played Clemson in the beginning of the year, we were down a man from the 57th minute. We were down a goal and came back and win it. So this team has incredible resiliency and mental toughness. Sometimes I don’t think we’re the smartest guys on the block. We make some mistakes that drive me crazy, but they fight. We talk about two things, we talk about attitude and we talk about effort, and today’s game personified that and it was enough for us to get the win.
Sophomore midfielder Koty Millard
Q: Can you just give us a recap of that game-winning goal for us?
A: Our keeper got in with 56 seconds on the clock, and I really just thought there’s still a little time left to score. He punted it (to) our forward, Mikkel Knudsen, who brought it down with a beautiful touch and played it to our other forward, Mo Kaba, and he slipped a perfect ball into me and I just finished it, and that was about it.
Q: What was the feeling you had after that?
A: Just relief about not having to go into overtime or penalty kicks and just moving on to the next stage.
Q: What was it to take down the number two seed, Kentucky?
A: It felt great. It felt really great actually. It felt like redemption kind of, because we came back after being down 3-0 to them, being a man down too, and we went into overtime with them at 3-3. We lost 4-3 in overtime to them, so it felt great, actually.