Aug. 28, 2017
Men's Soccer vs. Mercer
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina (2-0-0) came from behind Monday night at Stone Stadium for a huge 2-1 overtime victory over Mercer (0-2-0) to remain undefeated on the year. Freshman Justin Sukow scored the game-winner in the 100th minute with 5 seconds to go off the rebound from a deep shot by sophomore Luca Mayr that was saved. It was the San Antonio, Texas, native's first career goal.
Another freshman, Benjamin Gilligan, also netted his first career score in the 76th minute to tie things up 1-1. Mayr played a beautiful ball in to 6-foot-6 senior Spencer Meschter. He headed towards the net and Gilligan charged in to knock it home.
Senior keeper William Pyle came up huge in overtime with two big saves. He punched away a rocket off the foot of Jake Mezi in the 93rd minute and scooped up another stop in the 99th minute. He finished the night with five saves, a season-high.
With the score tied 1-1 in the 75th minute, junior Andre Streete made a stellar play in a 1v1 situation with forward Will Bagrou from just outside the 18 in the middle of the field, deflecting Bagrou's shot out of bounds to preserve the tie.
Bagrou, an All-American last season that was named to the preseason MAC Herman Trophy watch list, put Mercer in front 1-0 in 65th minute after scoring on a PK. Pyle came off his spot to stop an easy goal by Bagrou and was tagged with a foul.
The Bears, who returned eight starters from an NCAA Tournament team a year ago, were able to control possession for much of the second half. They had four corner kicks and logged eight shots, but the Gamecock defense held firm and was able to make several big plays when it mattered most.
The match was scoreless at halftime as neither team could get much going offensively in the first 45 minutes. Mercer held a 5-2 advantage in shots at the half, with each team logging one corner kick.
With the win tonight, head coach Mark Berson now has 496 career victories, fourth on the all-time NCAA Division I wins list.
"It says they've got a lot of heart and they fight hard. That's really good. I told them once we have that, we can build on that. We have a young group. We had two freshmen score for us tonight in their second college game. We just have to keep working and keep improving. All night long we competed. All night long we fought. That's a very good Mercer team." -- South Carolina men's soccer head coach Mark Berson
Mayr's bullet on goal from 40-yards out with the clock winding down setup the eventual game-winner by Sukow with 5 seconds remaining.
19 different Gamecocks saw action on Monday night with 15 players playing 30-plus minutes. 10 of the team's 14 newcomers contributed in the victory.
Carolina hits the road for the first time in 2017 as it takes on instate rival No. 5 Clemson on Friday night at Riggs Field. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. in the Palmetto Series matchup. A live stream will be available for fans on the ACC Digital Network through WatchESPN.
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