Men's Soccer Posts Shutout In Upset Win At No. 2 USF
TAMPA, Fla. - After a lengthy three hour and 25 minute rain delay, the South Carolina men's soccer team (2-1-1) posted a 1-0 upset victory on Thursday night at No. 2 USF (3-1-0), competing in the USF Tournament in Tampa, Fla. The win marks the third shutout of the season for the Gamecocks.
"I'm very proud of the team tonight," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "This was a good win over the No. 2 team in the country on the road at their place. We played very well in terms of our ability to keep the ball, and that was one of the key factors in the game, our ability to relieve pressure by keeping the ball. South Florida has a tremendous team, and this is a big win for us in this early part of the season."
South Carolina goalkeeper Alex Long played a stellar match in net. The junior netminder collected three saves in his third shutout of the season and the sixth of his career. The defensive unit of Kevin Stam, Eric Martinez, Trevor Hubbard and Mike Mangotic held their line throughout the match to secure the clean slate.
South Florida held a 15-8 advantage in shots in the match, including a slight 3-2 upperhand in shots on goal. The Carolina offense was led by Kivinen with two shots, while Hubbard also added one attempt on goal.
Sebastien Thuriere led the Bulls with three shots, including two on frame, while netminder Eric Osswald collected one save in the match.
The Bulls held possession through the early portion of the opening half, but the Gamecocks found an offensive rhythm midway through the set. South Carolina tallied just one shot in the half, but the Gamecocks capitalized when Kivinen gave the Garnet and Black the deciding 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute. After a foul by a USF defender, Kivinen sent a well-placed cross from the ensuing free kick inside the Bulls' six-yard box, which hit off the hands of Osswald and into the net for the lead.
The score stood at the halftime break, and Martinez nearly pushed the lead to 2-0 early in the half, narrowly missing on a header attempt on a corner kick from Kivinen.
The teams traded possession throughout the remainder of the half. Long deflected a save away from goal on a strike from Thuriere in the 65th minute to hold the Carolina lead and the Gamecocks' netminder collected another save from Thuriere on a header attempt with 20 seconds left in the contest to secure the win.
South Carolina concludes play at the USF Tournament on Saturday with a match against Florida Gulf Coast scheduled for 5 p.m. Live stats will be available via GamecocksOnline.com.