TAMPA, Fla. - The South Carolina men's soccer team (2-2-1) suffered a 3-0 loss to Florida Gulf Coast (3-2-0) in its final match at the USF Tournament on Saturday evening in non-conference action.
"This game was always going to be a challenge for us because of the level of which we were extended on Thursday night in the late start versus USF," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "In the first half, it was an even game. We had very good chances and played well. In the second half, we also played well, but as the game continued we started to lose our legs. Sometimes you have to see the game to know exactly the way things unfold, and tonight the statistics read a loss, but we created three or four chances to score that could have changed the game completely. We pushed forward late in the contest, and gave up some chances because of that.
"Florida Gulf Coast is a very good team. I really like the way they play, and we feel it was a great game. It's disappointing to have the loss, but we showed great progress throughout the weekend."
Both teams posted eight shots, including five shots on goal in the match. Junior forward Bradlee Baladez and sophomore striker Snoopy Davidson led Carolina with two shots each. FGCU's Deion Jones posted two shots on goal, while Jelani Smith tallied the game-winning goal, and William Morse and Andres Navas also added goals in the match.
Gamecock netminder Alex Long collected two saves, while Nathan Ingham posted five saves for the Eagles.
Neither team provided much offense in the opening half, as Carolina posted two shots in the set, both of which were saves for Ingham. Junior midfielder J.P. Rafferty had an attempt in the 14th minute, and Davidson another in the 24th minute, but the contest stood scoreless at the half.
Both teams had chances early in the second half. Florida Gulf Coast threatened with a shot from Smith and two early corner kicks, before Davidson and Baladez would have consecutive attempts at frame moments later, but the score held at 0-0 through the 54th minute of play.
FGCU took a 1-0 lead just moments later, as Smith connected for the score.
Gamecock midfielder Niklas Kivinen posted a shot in the 64th minute, but the Eagles pushed their lead to 2-0 in the 69th minute on Morse's tally. Navas posted the final Eagle goal in the 87th minute for the final 3-0 score.
South Carolina continues non-conference action when it travels to face No. 7 Charlotte on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Game time is set for 7 p.m., with live stats available via GamecocksOnline.com.
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