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Aug. 13, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 24 South Carolina opens its exhibition slate Monday, taking on No. 8 North Carolina at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., at 7 p.m. Admission to the contest is free.

The match was originally scheduled to be played at North Carolina’s Fetzer Field, but has been moved to WakeMed Soccer Park (Field No. 2) due to field conditions.

Monday’s contest marks the Gamecocks’ first of three exhibition matches before they open regular-season play at Stone Stadium against No. 3 Clemson on Fri., Aug. 26. Carolina hosts Winthrop on Thurs., Aug. 18 (7 p.m.), before rounding out its exhibition slate at the College of Charleston Sun., Aug. 21 (7 p.m.).

South Carolina, which returns eight starters, enters the 2016 season after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last fall. Head coach Mark Berson, the winningest active coach in NCAA Division I men’s soccer, led the Gamecocks to a third place finish in Conference USA last season, including an unblemished home record (8-0-2).

Senior midfielder and 2015 First-Team All-Conference USA selection Danny Deakin leads the charge for a South Carolina team that finished third in Conference USA in total shots (250) last season. Columbia native Koty Millard returns to control the middle after starting all 21 matches as a junior last year. Defensively, senior Ive Burnett looks to hold the backline while a pair of experienced goalkeepers return in senior Marco Velez and junior William Pyle, both of whom started last season.

North Carolina is coming off a 15-2-3 mark from 2015, earning the ACC Coastal Division title for the fifth time in seven seasons. The Tar Heels, who lost only five seniors from a year ago, earned the programs seventh top-10 placement in the last eight years (No. 9), and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks last faced the Tar Heels in 2011, falling 4-0.

Season tickets are on sale now, with soccer fans yet again getting the best deal offered for tickets. For $25 adults and $10 for youth 17 and under, purchasers receive a season ticket to every men’s and women’s soccer match this season and a customized Gamecock Soccer vuvuzela. To take advantage of the offer, call 800-472-3267 or visit