Nov. 11, 2015
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A 78th-minute goal from freshman Bjorn Gudjonsson propelled No. 17 South Carolina past New Mexico 1-0 at Transamerica Field and into the Conference USA Tournament semifinals on Friday afternoon.
After a New Mexico free kick from 19 yards away skimmed over the crossbar, the Gamecocks fired back quickly. Pyle’s goal kick got behind the Lobo defense, where Gudjonsson picked it up after a tap by fellow rookie Trygve Ellingstad. Gudjonsson fought through New Mexico’s defenders and poked it past the charging UNM keeper for his second goal of the year.
South Carolina nearly took a lead into halftime, as in the 33rd minute, senior Joey Hutchinson fired on goal from inside the 18. The goalkeeper made the stop, but junior Ive Burnett collected the rebound and put it in the nets. However, the linesman called Burnett offside, wiping the goal away.
The Gamecocks kept New Mexico from getting much of a look at goal the last 12 minutes, only allowing one shot that missed well right in the 86th minute.
Gudjonsson’s fight through the middle of the Lobos’ defense and poke over the goal line proved to be the game-winner.
Sophomore goalkeeper William Pyle made five stops to collect his fourth clean sheet of the season.
â€¢ For Gudjonsson, he also collects his second game-winning goal, as his score at Marshall also stood as the difference.
â€¢ Ellingstad’s assist is the first of his Gamecock career.
â€¢ Three Gamecocks tallied two shots each, senior Asa Kryst and juniors Danny Deakin and Kurtis Turner.
â€¢ New Mexico’s Chris Wehan posted four shots, two coming on goal, tops among all players.
Tweet of the Game:
@GamecockMSoccer Just did a “GOOOOAAAALLL” dance through the the house with the dogs! #gogamecocks pic.twitter.com/NxE6AHlHHy
— Morgan Lewis (@YellowDoorDiary) November 11, 2015
Head coach Mark Berson
On the defensive battle against New Mexico
“They’re a really good team. We were in a close game with them in the regular season, and we knew it would be a tough one. We knew all these conference games would be tough. I feel like it was a good game between two good teams. We had some excellent chances early in the first half, then we let the game get away from us. To New Mexico’s credit, they took it back. I think in the second half, it was pretty much dead-even, and we just happened to get the goal.”
On South Carolina’s 300+ minute shutout streak
“We actually had a little trouble there early in the year, so we have been focusing on our defending. Our guys take pride in it, and that is important. In these conference games and NCAA games, defending is even more important, so I thought we did a good job tonight.”
On South Carolina’s goal
“We got the ball up. It was a good ball to Bjorn [Gudjonsson] there, and he took the guy on. It was a nice finish, very good composure, strength on the ball and to slide it in.”
The Gamecocks, the third-seeded team in the tournament, face the winner of No. 7 seed Marshall and No. 2 seed Charlotte, the tourney host. That contest begins at 7 p.m. EST on Friday afternoon.