Carolina defeats Gardner-Webb, 4-2, in exhibition finale
Monheimer scores twice in second half to lead Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina men’s soccer closed its 2018 exhibition slate with a 4-2 win against Gardner-Webb at Stone Stadium on Saturday night. Junior striker Tucker Monheimer paced the Gamecocks with two goals in the second half, including the game-winner in the 74th minute.
Carolina controlled the run of play for most of the match and dominated the stat sheet with a 22-6 advantage in shots and an 8-1 edge on corners. But the Runnin’ Bulldogs were able to take advantage of two early defensive miscues by the Gamecocks, leading to a pair of goals and a 2-0 lead 20 minutes into the friendly.
“I thought our team showed a lot of character tonight,” said head coach Mark Berson. “We had many chances in the first half, and we created a lot of good chances. Gardner-Webb is a very good team. They’ve got a two goal lead, they’ve got quality players and it’s going to be difficult to break them down. We were able to do that, we just weren’t able to finish. In the second half, we really turned it up a notch and were able to score. Coming from behind and scoring four unanswered goals is a real credit to our guys.”
After an abundance of quality chances early, sophomore midfielder Kyle Gurrieri was finally able to breakthrough for Carolina with a goal in the 36th minute to cut the score to 2-1 before the break. Gurrieri gained possession off a defection with Gardner-Webb’s keeper Grant Glorioso off his line and an empty net behind him. He took aim and lofted a gorgeous shot to the back of the net from nearly 40-yards out. The Gamecocks led 14-2 in the shot column and 5-1 in corners at the half.
In the 51st minute, Carolina evened up the score with a beautiful counter attack strike. Monheimer slotted a ball to the far post from close range after a great passing sequence by sophomore Petter Soelberg and junior Luca Mayr. The Louisville, Kent., native again scored in the 74th minute, this time via header, on a great cross to the far post by sophomore Jared Gulden. Mayr put the game on ice in the 79th minute with his second goal in the preseason. Gurrieri assisted on the goal.
Freshman goalkeeper Ryan Bilichuk got the starting nod tonight and played the first 45 minutes of the match. Senior Ian McGrane played the entire second half and recorded one save.
Carolina opens its 2018 regular season vs. No. 13 Georgetown on Friday, Aug. 24, at The Graveyard at 7 p.m. ET. The Gamecocks will then play two more home games the following week versus Lipscomb (Monday, Aug. 27) and No. 11 Clemson (Friday, Aug. 31). Joint season tickets with South Carolina women’s soccer are still on sale and can be purchased online by clicking here.