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Aug. 29, 2015

South Carolina Hosts Georgia Southern
Eugene E. Stone III Stadium – Columbia, S.C.
Mon., Aug. 31, 7 PM
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15 SC Men’s Soccer Notes 8/29 Get Acrobat Reader

Gameday Changes for South Carolina Home Soccer Matches
Coach Berson Mic’d Up
Conference USA Soccer: An Elite History

Last Time Out

  • South Carolina posted a 2-1 win over defending Southern Conference regular-season champion Mercer in the season opener at Stone Stadium.
  • Senior Jeffrey Torda tallied his third career game-winning goal with a 55th-minute strike from junior Danny Deakin.
  • The Gamecocks owned the lead since the 18th minute when freshman Ben Davidson curved one around the wall and into the corner of the goal on a free kick.
  • Seven of South Carolina’s starters played all 90 minutes.
  • Junior goalkeeper Marco Velez made four stops on the night.

Roster Notes

  • South Carolina brings back 13 letter-winners and 16 members from the squad that made the 2014 Conference USA Tournament Championship Match.
  • Ten newcomers join the group: three transfers and seven freshmen.
  • The Gamecocks return 47 percent of their goals and 57 percent of their assists from last year.
  • Third-team All-Conference USA midfielder Kurtis Turner is the top returning scorer, and he’s led the Gamecocks in assists in each of his first two years.
  • Junior goalkeeper Marco Velez is also back after playing 87 percent of the minutes in goal and recording three solo shutouts last season.

The Gamecocks Shine in the Classroom as Well

  • South Carolina’s 16 returners have a total of 26 SEC Academic Honor Roll certificates and 25 Conference USA Academic Honor Roll notations between them.
  • Last season, 20 of the roster members picked up spots on each honor roll.
  • Ryan Arambula (three) and Jeffrey Torda (two) both own multiple C-USA Academic Medals, which go to honorees holding a 3.75 cumulative GPA or higher.
  • Both seniors also have CoSIDA Academic All-District nods to their credit, Arambula in 2013 and Torda in 2014.
  • Nine times, SC has garnered the NSCAA Team Academic Award, including one in each of the past six years.
  • Twice in the past five years, the Gamecocks have captured the top GPA in NCAA Division I according to the NSCAA.

We Schedule Top Competition

  • Of the 17 regular-season matches scheduled for the Gamecocks, 12 come against top-100 RPI teams in the final 2014 report from the NCAA.
  • Ten of those ranked in the top 50, five from C-USA (Charlotte, Kentucky UAB, Old Dominion & New Mexico).
  • Four foes made the NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason Top 25, with five more among those receiving votes.
  • Eight of the Gamecocks’ foes made last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Berson Ranks Sixth on NCAA Division I Coaching Wins List

  • The only head coach in South Carolina men’s soccer history, Mark Berson ranks as one of four coaches in NCAA Division I history with 450 wins at one institution.
  • The active Division I wins leader, Berson owns 472 career victories in 38 years, which includes his 11 in 1977 at The Citadel.
  • He holds 6th on the NCAA Division I wins list and 16th on the all-divisions listing.
  • Six wins ties Berson with Tom Martin, who retired after last season at James Madison with 478 career coaching wins in a career that spanned multiple divisions, for fifth on the Division I list.
  • Berson coached his 750th collegiate match vs. Kentucky on Oct. 25.
  • He’s coached 11 players who have captured 13 All-America nods at South Carolina.
  • He’s also guided at least one player on each of the past four US Men’s National Teams in the World Cup (Clint Mathis 2002, Josh Woolf 2002 and 2006, Brad Guzan 2010 and 2014).

Gamecocks Have a Rich History in NCAA Tournament

  • On 20 occasions, the Gamecocks made an NCAA Tournament, the most in Conference USA.
  • Eleven times, the Gamecocks have played the NCAA Tournament Round of 16.
  • South Carolina is 16-19-1 in the tourney, making two College Cups in 1988 and 1993.

Attendance Outstanding at Stone Stadium

  • The 2014 Gamecocks had the fifth-highest paid attendance average in NCAA Division I at 2,602.
  • That 2,602 attendance average is the largest for a season in Stone Stadium history.
  • The paid attendance of 5,415 for the season-opening match against Belmont ranks as the 4th-best in Stone Stadium history and 8th in the site’s history of men’s matches.
  • The first two exhibitions of 2015 saw over 4,000 students scan in for each, filling the stands.

South Carolina Played for Third Conference USA Tournament Crown

  • South Carolina made its eighth appearance in the Conference USA Tournament, advancing to the finals before falling 2-1 to host Old Dominion.
  • The seventh seed, the Gamecocks opened the event by beating second-seeded and 18th-ranked Kentucky 2-1.
  • On Fri., South Carolina downed No. 21 UAB, 1-0, in the semifinals.
  • Entering the event, SC had only once faced a rematch against a team it lost to in the regular season.
  • In 2010, South Carolina fell to SMU in the regular season 3-1 but came back to win the semifinal rematch 2-1 en route to its second tourney title.
  • The Gamecocks added to that total with both wins in the 2014 event.
  • It’s the second time the Gamecocks have downed back-to-back ranked foes in the event, matching the 2010 team (2-1 W in semis over No. 5 SMU on 11/12, 1-0 W in finals over No. 25 Tulsa on 11/14).
  • SC missed becoming the first No. 7 seed to win the tourney, joining two others who made the finals (FIU 2007, Memphis 1998).
  • The Gamecocks are now 9-6-1 all-time in the C-USA Tourney, winning it twice (2005 and 2010).

Gamecocks were Comeback Kings in 2014

  • In six of South Carolina’s 10 wins, the team came from behind to take the victory.
  • Five victories came from one goal back, with the fifth marking the largest comeback in school history (down 0-3 at Florida Atlantic).
  • Twice, the team has fought back against a ranked foe despite being down a player to force double overtime (down 0-1 vs. No. 25/18 Clemson, down 0-3 vs. No. 19/22 Kentucky).
  • The three wins that didn’t involve overtime or falling behind were a 2-0 decision over Mercer, the 1-0 triumph at Old Dominion and the 1-0 victory over No. 21 UAB in the C-USA semis.

11th Year for South Carolina in Conference USA

  • The 2015 season is South Carolina’s 11th as a men’s soccer affiliate member of Conference USA.
  • In 2011, the Garnet and Black captured the league’s regular-season crown, sharing it with UAB.
  • Twice more, the Gamecocks won the league’s tournament, in 2005 and 2010.
  • South Carolina’s student-athletes have taken 48 all-league nods, with 14 coming on the first team.
  • In C-USA outings, South Carolina owns a 38-28-16 (.561) mark.
  • On the road, that mark is 19-13-10 (.571). At Stone Stadium, that record is 19-15-6 (.550).
  • The 2014 Gamecocks fell one game shy of their fifth undefeated road slate in their C-USA history.

Recent Dominance of Archrival Clemson

  • Since 2007, the Gamecocks are 6-2 against their archrival Clemson, with both of the losses coming in double overtime on the road (2011 & 2013).
  • The last four matches at Stone Stadium have gone to the Gamecocks, three coming in shutouts.
  • It’s the best stretch since the Gamecocks went 10-4 from 1985-95 against the Tigers, with three of the wins in that stretch coming in NCAA Tournament play.

Scouting Georgia Southern

  • Nine starters return for the Eagles, who went 8-9 in 2014 in the Sun Belt.
  • Leading the returners is senior goalkeeper Jack Faile, who stopped 97 shots in 1,549 minutes a year ago (1.80 GAA).
  • Faile, the Sun Belt’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, did have five shutouts on the 2014 season en route to first-team all-conference accolades.
  • Also back is leading scorer Emmanuel Raji, who claimed the Sun Belt’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year award.
  • In total, 81 percent of Georgia Southern’s goals are back from last year, five each from Raji and Eric Dinka.
  • Two other Eagles joined Faile and Raji on the Preseason All-Sun Belt team: defender Chase Park and midfielder Thor Sveinbjornsson.

Ties Between South Carolina and Georgia Southern

  • Eagle assistant Geoff del Forn played in 2007 for the Gamecocks.

Series History vs. the Eagles

  • The Gamecocks has a 3-0-1 mark against Georgia Southern, with all four matches coming in Columbia.
  • SC and the Eagles tied 3-3 in the last meeting, on Sept. 4, 1997.