Men's Soccer Suffers 2-0 Loss To No. 15 St. John's
Aug. 31, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina men's soccer team suffered a 2-0 loss to No. 15 St. John's on Friday in its opening match of the 2012 Gamecock Classic. No. 25 Northwestern earned a 2-1 overtime victory versus Kentucky in the event's opening match.
"St. John's is a very good team," Gamecock head coach Mark Berson said. "We knew that coming in. We want to measure ourselves against the best, and tonight the measurement didn't look too pretty. We need to do a better job, and it is a good opportunity for us to step it up and to work on the things we need to improve on. I give a lot of credit to St. John's, I thought they played very well tonight."
The Gamecocks posted eight shots against 14 from the Red Storm, with St. John's holding a 5-3 edge in shots on goal. Junior forward Bradlee Baladez and sophomore midfielder Braeden Troyer led the South Carolina attack with three shots each, with Troyer posting two on frame. Netminder Alex Long collected three saves.
St. John's was led by defender Jack Bennett with five shots and an assist, while midfielder Nick Matthews netted the game-winning goal in the 80th minute, and Andres Vargas also scored. Jelani Williams was also credited with an assist in the match, while goalkeeper Rafael Diaz posted three saves.
Neither team found offensive momentum in the first half, but both had its chances, with the Gamecocks earning three corner kicks compared to four by St. John's. Baladez posted Carolina's only shot in the set, a strike high of frame in the 22nd minute.
The match stood scoreless at the half and both teams began the second half with a flurry of offense. Diaz saved a strike by Baladez in the 47th minute and Troyer had another blocked just seconds later, but Carolina was unable to capitalize on the opportunities.
Carolina had a chance late in the half on a free kick just outside of the 18-yard box, but Baladez's shot was placed just above the crossbar. St. John's would score moments later with Matthews scoring on a rebounded shot from Williams to give the Red Storm the 1-0 lead. Vargas would add his tally six minutes later on a free kick opportunity and the contest would end with a 2-0 score.
In the opening match of the Gamecock Classic, No. 25 Northwestern earned a 2-1 overtime victory versus Kentucky on a goal by Kyle Schickel in the 96th minute. Despite the loss, Kentucky goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale collected a game high six saves in the match.
Play at the Gamecock Classic concludes on Sunday when St. John's and Kentucky play at 11 a.m., before South Carolina will play Northwestern at 1 p.m. Free live video will be available for the Gamecocks' match.