South Carolina Suffers Loss At College Of Charleston In Season Opener
Aug. 28, 2011
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The South Carolina men's soccer team (0-1-0) suffered a 3-2 loss at College of Charleston (1-0-0) in the 2011 season opener for both schools on Sunday. The match was originally scheduled to be played on Friday, Aug. 26, but was postponed until Sunday due to inclement weather from Hurricane Irene.
"First of all tonight I think we did a lot more things well than poorly," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "I'm really pleased with that. We battled back twice from being behind and for a young team with as many freshman as we have, we have a brand new goalkeeper, two new centerbacks and three new central midfielders and new guys up front so we knew that this would be an opportunity for us to put some things together, and I was very proud of the way we battled back twice. The goals we gave up were very soft, and uncharacteristic of our team. We are usually pretty tough in the back and I don't think we did a particularly good job, but on the flip side, we created so many scoring chances. That is really positive."
South Carolina held a 21-17 upperhand in shots in the match, while the teams both registered seven shots on goal. Sophomore forward Bradlee Baladez and freshman midfielder Braeden Troyer tallied goals for the Gamecocks, while sophomore midfielder Chipper Root and senior defender Danny Cates both collected their first assist of the season. Senior midfielder Vance Benson added four shots and freshman forward Asa Kryst tallied three.
College of Charleston was led by sophomore forward Andy Craven with six shots, including two goals, while junior midfielder Francis Twohig added the game-winning goal and one assist. Ralphie Lundy and George Khoury each collected an assist in the match.
Defensively for the Gamecocks, sophomore goalkeeper Alex Long collected four saves in the first start of his college career, while College of Charleston netminder Kees Heemskerk earned five saves.
South Carolina's first chance at net in the opening frame came at the seven-minute mark when Root collected a deflected Baladez shot just inside the 18-yard box. Benson hit a cross from Root on a one-touch shot towards goal, but Heemskerk held his line for the save.
The Cougars immediately countered, as Craven scored on a breakaway goal in the eighth minute. Twohig sent a through pass down the center of the field to Craven who took one touch past a diving Carolina goalkeeper for the score.
Energetic play continued in the opening half, as Carolina scored the equalizer just three minutes later. Baladez connected on a cross from Root and sent a header past Heemskerk to knot the score at 1-1. The tally was the seventh of Baladez's career.
Scoring in the opening half continued at the 20-minute mark. After a South Carolina foul 35 yards from goal, Lundy sent a free kick into the Gamecock six-yard box, which bounced towards Craven for the header from the far post for the one-goal lead.
Back and forth play continued throughout the remainder of the half. Morrissey was called for offsides and Kryst registered a shot on goal late in the half that was caught by Heemskerk, but the Cougars maintained the 2-1 lead at the half.
Both teams had their offensive chances in the half before Troyer evened the match at 2-2 with his first-career goal in the 70th minute. Cates sent a long throw-in towards the Cougar six-yard box where Troyer collected the ball and hit a low strike past Heemskerk for the goal.
The score remained tied with five minutes left in regulation, but Twohig collected the game winner with just over four minutes remaining. Khoury hit a cross towards the near post, which Twohig was able to re-direct for the score.
J.P. Rafferty and Kryst hit shots wide with just over one minute remaining in the match, but the Gamecocks were unable to mark the scoreboard.
South Carolina continues the 2011 season when it travels to face Clemson on Friday, Sept. 2. Match time is set for 7:15 p.m.