Nov. 16, 2014
NORFOLK, Va. – Trying to pull off another comeback, South Carolina (10-10) could not get past Old Dominion (12-6-1), as the Monarchs captured the 2014 Conference USA Tournament championship with a 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon.
Old Dominion scored in the 19th when Sidney Rivera poked in a loose ball in front of the net. Michael Nelson gained an assist on the play, giving the Monarchs the lead. Insurance came for ODU in the 75th minute, as Geoffrey Hill polished off the feed from David Macsicza to put ODU up 2-0.
South Carolina cut the lead in half with eight minutes to play, as Turner sent a long ball down the left side that junior Wesley Eads got and fed across the goal to junior Jeffrey Torda, who put it in the net for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks came close to knotting things with five minutes to play. In the 84th, an SC cross in front of the ODU goal was not touched by a Gamecock standing inside the six, while Knudsen had a shot in the 85th that hit off the right post.
The Gamecocks’ sophomore goalkeeper Marco Velez made four saves in the first half, keeping it a one-goal match. Many of those saves came on headers inside the six that Velez positioned himself perfectly to nab. South Carolina had eight shots in the first half, none coming on goal however. Senior Mahamoudou Kaba posted two shots in the first five minutes, one going wide and the other high. Redshirt freshman Mikkel Knudsen also had two good looks later in the half, but both went left.
Four Gamecocks earned All-Tournament Team accolades, led by seniors Mahamoudou Kaba and Braeden Troyer. Velez and Knudsen joined them on the team. Old Dominion’s Rivera and Macsicza took the Offensive and Defensive MVP awards,
South Carolina never sustained a solid offensive attack, getting dangerous crosses but no one to finish them.
Old Dominion controlled the second half, taking 13 shots to the Gamecocks’ six.
- The Monarchs held leads in shots (21-14), shots on goal (8-3) and corner kicks (4-3).
- Velez made six stops in the contest, while Tiesenhausen had two.
- The third seventh-seeded team to play for the Conference USA Tournament title, South Carolina fell like the previous two to try.
- It’s the first time the Gamecocks have lost in the finals of the C-USA Tournament, winning in 2005 and 2010.
Gamecock head coach Mark Berson:
The team is really disappointed. We came here to win a championship, but we fell a little short. We showed a lot of character and determination to come back and get the goal (in the 82nd). Later, we hit the post and had another go across the goal while the goalkeeper was down. We created enough chances to complete the comeback. Doing that at the host team in the finals of the conference tournament, our team showed a lot of character and heart.