South Carolina Falls 1-0 To No. 2 Wake Forest
Oct. 18, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (8-4-1 overall, 3-0-1 C-USA) fell at home Tuesday evening 1-0 in a hard-fought nonconference battle with No. 2 Wake Forest (11-2-2 overall, 4-1-1 ACC), snapping an eight-match unbeaten streak that dated back to Sept. 13.
The Demon Deacons came out with an early offensive push, firing two shots in the first minute of play. An early corner and a series of offensive connections for Wake Forest continued, but they were equally met with solid defense from Carolina.
Senior goalkeeper William Pyle had two saves in the first half, one on a close range shot from Wake Forest junior midfielder Jon Bakero. Senior Ive Burnett, senior Matt McManis, sophomore Peyton Ericson and sophomore Christoffer Wallander Ianev anchored the defense in the first half for the Gamecocks to keep the score knotted at 0-0.
Carolina had multiple chances to score with four shots and one shot on goal in the opening period. Gamecock senior Kurtis Turner fired a missile from 35-yards out, but Alec Ferrell made a spectacular diving save for the Deacs to keep the match scoreless. The teams headed into the half tied at 0-0.
Wake Forest connected early in period two after Logan Gdula fired a beautiful cross into the box that was headed in for a goal by Hayden Partain to the far post. Pyle, who has been rock solid all year in the net for Carolina, was put in a tough position on the perfectly placed header by Partain.
Senior Koty Millard, who was all over the field Tuesday evening for the Gamecocks per usual, had two highlight worthy shots on goal in the second half but Ferrell again came up huge for the Demon Deacons. Millard’s four shots (2 SOG) led the team.
Carolina would have a few chances in the last 15 minutes that were stifled by Wake Forest’s tough backline. The Deacs came into the match leading the nation in team goals against average at 0.48 and proved that stat worthy throughout the match.
Pyle finished the evening with four saves. The Charlotte, N.C., native’s record in goal fell to 8-2-1 on the year with the loss.
South Carolina remains atop the C-USA standings as the only unbeaten team in conference play with a one-point edge over No. 9 Charlotte, 10-9.
Head Coach Mark Berson on his team going toe to toe with the nation’s best: “Wake Forest is very good. I thought on the night they were sharper for longer periods of time than we were. Having said that, once we kind of got up to speed and got going, I thought we did go toe to toe with them. Some of the transition play by both teams from end to end was unbelievable. It really speaks to the quality of athletes on the field for both teams tonight. I thought Wake Forest was very good. It was a really tough, hard-fought match. We had some pretty good chances in there. We want to take this and just build on it and get ready for the next one.”
Partain’s header to the far post of the goal early in the second half proved the difference in the game.
Wake Forest held Carolina to a season-low nine shots and three shots on goal.
- Senior midfielder Danny Deakin leads the team in points with 16 (6G, 4A).
- Junior goalkeeper William Pyle is now 8-2-1 on the year with 38 saves and four shutouts.
- Deakin leads the team in shots at 40 with freshman striker Luca Mayr close behind at 38.
- Mayr leads the team with 17 shots on goal and Deakin ranks second with 16.
- Carolina has four players with double-digit shots on goal: Mayr (17), Deakin (16), Kevin Walker (12) and Kurtis Turner (11).
South Carolina heads northeast for a C-USA matchup at Old Dominion (3-5-2 overall, 0-2-1 C-USA) on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Norfolk, Va.