Aug. 18, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Gamecock men's soccer team earned a 2-0 shutout against visiting Elon on Saturday night in the final exhibition of the 2012 season. Junior forward Bradlee Baladez scored both goals for South Carolina, including his first, and the game winner, just 15 seconds into the match.
"Elon is a very good team and tonight's game gave us a very good test going into the season opener next week," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "I'm very proud of the way our team handled themselves, both attacking and defending. Clearly, we were not as sharp in the attack as we were versus Georgia State. We have to work on a few things, but at this stage of the season to get a shutout was important. Against a very good team this is a good result and puts us in a good state going into the season opener."
South Carolina tallied 19 shots in the contest, including nine on goal, while Elon posted nine shots, with three on frame. Baladez's five shots on goal led South Carolina, while senior forward Mike Mangotic added three attempts.
Senior defender Eric Martinez and sophomore midfielders Niklas Kivinen and Mahamoudou Kaba all registered an assist in the win. Elon forward Jason Waterman led the squad with three shots, including one on goal.
Junior goalkeeper Alex Long and redshirt-freshman netminder Robert Beebe both played 45 minutes in the contest for the combined shutout. Elon counterpart Nathan Dean collected seven saves in the loss.
Baladez scored the eventual game winner just 15 seconds into the contest on a long cross out of the defensive third from Martinez, which bounced in the box past an Elon defender before Baladez caught Dean off guard, scoring at the far post for a 1-0 Carolina advantage.
Back and forth possession followed through the first half of the set. Elon challenged just under 20 minutes to play on a free kick opportunity, which Gamecock defender Kevin Stam blocked at the far post to preserve the lead.
Carolina's advantage held into the second half. Sophomore midfielder Braeden Troyer nearly scored on a cross by Baladez with 33 minutes remaining, and Martinez had a header cleared off the Elon goal line just moments later to hold the score at 1-0.
Baladez would score his second goal of the match in the 77th minute of a stellar pass from Kaba. The pass sailed over the Elon defenders, which allowed Baladez to score just over the outstretched hands of Dean for the final 2-0 mark.
South Carolina begins the 2012 regular season when it hosts College of Charleston next Friday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m.
Season tickets for men's soccer, which includes admission to all home games, are currently on sale in the Gamecock Ticket Office. Fans can purchase tickets online at GamecocksOnline.com, or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS. Cost for season tickets for men's soccer is $25 for adults and $10 for youth (17 and under).
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