Gamecocks draw, 1-1, in friendly with No. 10 Duke.
Luca Mayr scored in the 55th minute for Carolina.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina led most of the way in a 1-1 exhibition draw with No. 10 Duke on Wednesday evening at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks led 1-0 the first 81 minutes of the match, thanks to a beautiful goal that was headed in by junior striker Luca Mayr.
“It was our first scrimmage against an outside opponent,” said head coach Mark Berson. “We had a lot of young players out there on the field. A number of guys got their first experience tonight in a Gamecock uniform which was good. A little rough around the edges as far as some of the attacking play, but I think the defensive concentration was pretty good. It’s a process, and this is one step of the process.”
Freshman defender Josh Corning was credited with an assist on the scoring play after sending in a textbook cross far post to Mayr from the wide side of the field. Mayr, who was a Preseason All-Conference USA selection, led Carolina in points (18), goals (6) and assists (6) in 2017. Corning, a local player from Chapin, S.C., earned a starting nod tonight on the backline along with fellow freshman Elijah Bebout.
After a slow start, the Gamecocks found their rhythm offensively with several high-quality chances in the final 15 minutes of the opening half. Sophomore midfielder Petter Soelberg and sophomore forward Benjamin Gilligan each had close range chances with shots on target. Senior keeper Ian McGrane got the start between the posts. He posted a clean sheet and two saves in 45 minutes of action.
Freshman Ryan Bilichuk started the second half and played the remainder of the match. He saw a lot of action and was outstanding, making five saves in 60 minutes of work. After several good looks at the goal late in the second period, the Blue Devils were awarded a penalty kick after a foul by Carolina inside the box. Daniel Wright knocked it in to tie the match in the 82nd minute. After the conclusion of the first 90 minutes of the match, the teams played one, 15-minute extra period, but the match would end in a 1-1 draw.
The Gamecocks return to action with their final friendly against Gardner-Webb at home Saturday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET at The Graveyard. Carolina, who finished third in the nation for average attendance in 2017, opens its 2018 regular season slate versus No. 13 Georgetown on Friday, Aug. 24, at Stone Stadium. Joint season tickets with South Carolina women’s soccer are still on sale and can be purchased online by clicking here.