Gamecocks open season at home versus No. 13 Georgetown Friday
Gates open at 6 p.m. and match kicks off at 7 p.m.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina men’s soccer opens its 2018 season on Friday night at home against No. 13 Georgetown. Stone Stadium’s gates will open 1 hour prior to the 7 p.m. ET kickoff.
Expectations are high for the Gamecocks, who return 14 letterwinners and eight starters from 2017. Preseason All-Conference USA selection Luca Mayr is back to lead Carolina’s offense. The junior striker led the team in points (18), goals (6) and assists (6) in 2017 en route to earning First Team All-C-USA honors. Sophomore forward Justin Sukow is also back after a breakout freshman campaign. He finished second on the team with 12 points (5G, 2A). He led Carolina with three game-winning scores, which T-2nd in C-USA.
The Gamecocks opened the season with a 1-1 draw in a friendly with No. 10 Duke on Aug. 15. Carolina led 1-0 for the first 81 minutes of the match thanks to an early second half goal by Mayr. Carolina picked up a 4-2 win in its final exhibition match against Gardner-Webb on Aug. 18. Junior Tucker Monheimer scored two goals in the second half to lead the Gamecocks to the victory.
Head coach Mark Berson enters his 41st season as head coach for Carolina. He’s been the only coach for the program since its first season in 1978. Berson is the active wins leader in NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer with 500 career victories. He is one of just four coaches all-time to hit the 500-win plateau.
Friday night’s contest against the Hoyas will mark a stretch of three consecutive home matches against 2017 NCAA Tournament teams to start the season.
SCOUTING NO. 13 GEORGETOWN
The Hoyas are fresh off an NCAA Tournament appearance in which they earned the No. 14 overall seed after going 14-4-2 in 2017. They were BIG EAST Champions and return several key contributors from that squad. Georgetown was voted the preseason conference favorite and senior Brendan McDonough was voted BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. McDonough was also named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watchlist. Last season, the Hoyas posted eight shutouts and allowed just 15 goals all year. Forwards Achara and Derek Dodson each joined McDonough on the Preseason All-BIG EAST squad. Dodson led the team with 22 points in 2017 (10G, 2A). Achara played in just 11 games, but finished second on the team with seven goals. It will be the first ever meeting between the two programs.
Georgetown went 2-0-1 in its three exhibition matches with wins against Delaware and Penn State. The Hoyas drew with No. 15 Virginia. Georgetown is led by Brian Wiese, who is 138-74-29 entering his 13th season as head coach.
Joint season tickets with South Carolina women’s soccer are still on sale and can be purchased online by clicking here. Carolina finished third in the country in national attendance average in 2017 (2,900 fans per game) and has ranked in the top-10 for attendance in four consecutive seasons.
The Gamecocks have a quick turnaround and will face Lipscomb at home on Monday night (Aug. 27) at 7 p.m. ET. Carolina then welcomes in No. 11 Clemson to The Graveyard on Friday night (Aug. 31). Kickoff for the annual Palmetto Series matchup with the two in-state rivals is set for 7 p.m. ET. The last time the Tigers came to town, the Gamecocks broke the all-time single-game Stone Stadium attendance record when 6,892 fans attended the match.